The Impact of a Computer Based Adult Literacy Program on Literacy and Numeracy: Evidence from India

Discussion Papers


by Ashwini Deshpande, Alain Desrochers, Christopher Ksoll and Abu S. Shonchoy

January 2016


With over 700 million illiterate adults in the world, many governments have implemented adult literacy programs across the world, although typically with low rates of success partly because the quality of teaching is low. One solution may lie in the standardization of teaching provided by computer-aided instruction. We present the first rigorous evidence of the effectiveness of a computer-based adult literacy program. A randomized control trial study of TARA Akshar Plus, an Indian adult literacy program, was implemented in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. We find large, significant impacts of this computer-aided program on literacy and numeracy outcomes. We compare the improvement in learning to that of other traditional adult literacy programs and conclude that TARA Akshar Plus is effective in increasing literacy and numeracy for illiterate adult women.

Keywords: Adult Literacy Program; Adult Education; ICT; Women; India
JEL classification: O12

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