Research and Learning Associate – TaRL Africa at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Founded to accelerate the nation’s industrial revolution, MIT is profoundly American. The MIT community is driven by a shared purpose: to make a better world through education, research, and innovation. With ingenuity and drive, our graduates have invented fundamental technologies, launched new industries, and created millions of American jobs. At the same time, and without the slightest sense of contradiction, MIT is profoundly global.

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

TARL Africa is recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Research and Learning Associate – TaRL Africa

Location: Abuja
Duration: Fixed Term, 1 year with the possibility of renewal subject to donor funding
Career Category: Program / Project Management
Theme: Education

Job Description

  • Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa seeks a Research and Learning Associate to support the research, learning and evidence generation for the TaRL programme in Nigeria. This role provides an excellent opportunity to be part of a leading evidence-based initiative tackling low learning levels.
  • The role will be based in Abuja, with frequent travel within Nigeria. The position is suitable to help the selected candidate prepare for graduate-level studies in public-policy research and/or further professional opportunities in impact evaluation.

About Teaching at the Right Level Africa

  • TaRL Africa is a newly formalised partnership between Education NGO, Pratham, and research centre J-PAL, who have been working together developing cost-effective, scalable literacy and Numeracy interventions for more than 15 years. The fruits of these efforts have been the development of what we now refer to as the TaRL.
  • The TaRL approach, pioneered by Pratham, helps children develop basic reading and numeracy skills. In TaRL classroom: children are assessed on basic reading and numeracy using a simple tool; grouped by learning level, rather than by grade, for a dedicated time when they focus building foundational skills through activities and materials appropriate for each group. As children progress, they move to the next learning group and continue to grow.

Main Responsibilities

  • The Research and Learning Associate will oversee a set of defined research activities for Nigeria’s TaRL programme. This includes working to design and manage research and pilot activities applying quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method approaches.

The Associate’s key responsibilities include:

  • Working with the research team to brainstorm, scope, select and implement research projects based on research and learning goals.
  • Scoping, designing and testing research and learning ideas;
    • Qualitative and quantitative scoping and assessment
    • Designing pilot assessment and monitoring systems.
    • Overseeing and supporting pilot implementation including training of stakeholders.
    • Training and supervising enumerators on data collection.
    • Monitoring pilot process and providing periodic reports.
    • Analyzing, reporting and disseminating pilot outcomes.
    • Supporting design of potential rigorous evaluations.
  • Supporting qualitative and quantitative research studies design and roll-out;
    • Assisting the research team in developing instruments for each round of data collection.
    • Digitizing data collection instruments.
    • Training enumerators on data collection instruments.
    • Overseeing data collection, and ensuring that it complies with standards for data quality.
    • Monitoring the quality of the implementation of interventions.
    • Assisting with applications to local and international institutional review boards.
    • Writing high-quality documents for the evaluation, including training manuals, process reports and reports of results from the different rounds of data collection.
  • For research activities requiring support from external survey firms, managing the external survey firms from tendering to project finalization
  • Working in close collaboration with the research team and partner organizations to track overall progress on the project and ensure adherence to timelines and the project-plan.
  • Join and contribute to learning team meetings and brainstorming on other TaRL Africa research projects.
  • Engage internal and external stakeholders.
  • Creatively communicate research lessons and results with the TaRL community and more broadly (ex. through blogs, podcasts, newsletters, etc.)

Minimum Requirements

  • A Master’s degree in economics, statistics, education, or a related field.
  • A minimum of two years of experience working in a similar research-focused position.
  • Demonstrated experience with data collection platforms and data analysis software, such as Stata or R.
  • Excellent communication skills in English, including writing, conversing and presenting.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with cross-cultural teams.
  • Desire to help improve learning outcomes for students at scale.
  • Experience working in Nigeria.
  • Willingness to travel frequently and flexibly.


  • Hausa language skills
  • Work authorization to work in Nigeria

Application Closing Date
28th October, 2020.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online


  • Shortlisted candidates will be asked to complete a written assessment, followed by an interview process.
  • Due to the large volume of applications, we will only be able to respond to short-listed applicants.
  • TaRL Africa is an equal opportunity employer and committed to having a diverse workforce.
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