Education without Borders
Data Analysis Volunteers Laud EwB’s Positive Impact
As part of the Experience Ventures placement program, second year McMaster University student Rachel Tse joined the Education without Borders (EwB) team to work alongside Nikita Bernier, a Canadian volunteer in Cape Town, to analyze the raw data generated by EwB’s After-school tutoring programs. They aim to use their findings to provide insight into the program’s operation and effectiveness, and how to improve the program to better support learners.
“It’s been a great experience learning with Nikita and getting to support EwB’s important work of educating disadvantaged and at-risk youth. From seeing the statistics that Nikita and I have uncovered, I can say that no matter how unencouraging the data looks like sometimes, even finding a single upward trendline is enough. It signifies the very real and positive impact of EwB on learners, and even if they don’t look so good at times, it just means we have room to grow and now have a clear direction to steer in,” says Rachel.
Rachel also shared that through working with Nikita, as well as with EwB Founders, Ruth and Cecil Hershler, it is clear that they care immensely about each learner and the work that they do. “Not only have I learned about data analysis, but of the hope, resilience, and joy the learners at EwB bring that inspires me and everyone else at EwB.”
Nikita added that it’s been very exciting to take a deep dive into the data from the EwB sessions and to look for ways to measure how EwB impacts the learners. “Even after three years with the EwB team, I have been surprised to see the differences between grades and across topics, in particular, comparing data from girls and boys. The attendance of learners to our sessions is the key to maximizing the impact of EwB, and the data analysis ensures that we can monitor and identify at-risk and exceptional learners. Rachel has been a huge help, and involving her presents a great opportunity to spread awareness in Canada, Australia and the USA about our work with South African learners.”