Identifying the impact of a blended learning model for refugees

Client: Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)
Partner: Scalabrini Centre
Location: South Africa
Sector: Education
Dates of service: April 2018 - October 2020
IDinsight service: Decision focused evaluation
IDinsight contacts: Chris Chibwana, Kevin Kelsey
Status: Active

The Problem

Tertiary education is increasingly necessary for employment, but it can be costly and difficult to access. Only 1% of refugees have access to tertiary education, compounding their barriers to labor markets.

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) aims to provide a high quality, low-cost model of higher education by using a blended learning model of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and in-person instruction to students who otherwise may not have been able to access tertiary education. The goal of the program is to improve students’ labor market outcomes in the long run. The model was established in Rwanda in 2013, along with Kepler.

Research conducted by IDinsight between 2013 and 2016 found that the program had positive impacts on Kepler students’ learning outcomes as compared to students in Rwandan universities. The program was later expanded to refugee settlements in Rwanda, South Africa, Malawi, and Kenya.

SNHU is interested in identifying the impact of their blended learning education model in a new context, with new implementing organizations. If the program is found to be impactful, SNHU will look to scale their program to new contexts.

Evidence Needs

IDinsight Service

IDinsight is designing and implementing a difference-in-difference evaluation that will measure the impact of the program on student learning outcomes at Cape Town’s Scalabrini Centre, compared to similar refugee, migrant, and international students starting at other tertiary education programmes in Cape Town.


Project is ongoing.


Project is ongoing.