TaRL Africa Research Manager

About TaRL Africa

TaRL Africa is a new initiative jointly led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and the NGO Pratham.

Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL), an approach developed by the Indian NGO Pratham, aims to build foundational skills in math and reading for all children. At the instructional level, the approach works by assessing children’s learning levels using a simple tool, grouping children based on learning levels rather than age or grade, using a range of engaging teaching and learning activities, focusing on foundational skills, and tracking children’s progress. When TaRL is implemented within government systems, teachers receive strong academic support through mentors who are part of the government system. Ongoing, onsite monitoring and support, as well as reviews at different levels of the school system, all contribute to the effectiveness of the program.

series of randomized evaluations by J-PAL affiliated researchers over the past fifteen years have shown that TaRL consistently improves learning outcomes when implemented well and has led to some of the largest learning gains among rigorously evaluated education programs. The iterative process of innovation and evaluation in collaboration with J-PAL has helped Pratham to refine and adapt TaRL over time, which has now reached millions of children in India and Africa.

Learning Team

Learning has always been at the core of the TaRL approach. As the approach moves to scale in Africa, continued adaptation to the local contexts and testing marginal innovations for efficiency and cost-effectiveness will be critical to TaRL’s long-term success.

The Research Manager will report to the Learning Director and work closely with TaRL Africa central team and country team staff. S/he will join this team at an exciting time. The base of the approach, the scale, and the research agenda has been built. The Research Manager can leverage this base to flexibly start many studies which will inform how TaRL continues to scale across the continent. The position will be based in Nairobi, Kenya.


  • Crafting and implementing new studies
    • Work with the Learning Director to translate the TaRL Africa learning agenda into studies in focus countries
    • Implement research studies in focus countries, including qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research
    • Coordinate research conducted by others
    • Support country teams in crafting learning plans including plans for piloting and testing new design aspects and evaluations of impact, implementing these studies and analyzing and communicating results
    • Help communicate with partner organizations about the goals of the learning agenda, consulting on their learning plans and helping to communicate results across the continent
    • When necessary, seek support from relevant researchers including helping to draft research proposals and manage commissioned research
  • Collate and communicate research results
    • Write up research results for studies conducted internally
    • Write policy summaries for the TaRL website of all research results
    • Creatively communicate research lessons and results with the TaRL community and more broadly (ex. through podcasts, newsletters, etc.)
    • Present the TaRL learning results at conferences and events
  • Develop and share expertise in the TaRL approach and in research relevant to the team’s efforts to scale the approach across Africa
    • Engage with TaRL evaluations and related literature
    • Work with Learning Director to update TaRL Africa learning agenda
    • Frequently visit country teams on the ground 


  • Master’s degree with a focus on public policy, economics, statistics, education or related field. Must have graduate courses in economics, statistics and policy writing.
  • At least three year’s work experience, with at least a year in Africa
  • Demonstrated ability to brainstorm and conduct policy-relevant research studies, especially in education
  • Strong data analysis skills including experience working in Stata
  • Strong project management skills with demonstrated ability to work on multiple projects at once and deliver to tight deadlines
  • Strong interpersonal skills with cross-cultural teams
  • Excellent communication skills in English including writing, conversing and presenting
  • Desire to help improve learning outcomes for students at scale
  • Willingness to travel frequently and flexibly


  • French language ability
  • Graduate degree in education
  • Experience working as a teacher, especially in primary schools
  • African nationality

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