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Speed School

place Mali + 4 more

An accelerated learning program for children who have been denied the opportunity to go to school.

Speed School consists of a condensed curriculum covering the first three years of primary education. The Speed School model is being implemented and adapted across multiple African countries to help marginalized out-of-school children catch up on education in supportive, joyful classrooms with remarkable results. Upon completion, children transfer to formal schools to continue their education.

Hall of Fame


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Hall of Fame

HundrED 2022

HundrED 2021

HundrED 2020

HundrED 2019






Target group
April 2023
"Education is the way to a different future. Speed School will make me stronger; I’m already learning faster.”

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Even prior to COVID-19, 59 million primary school aged children were out of school globally. Often excluded due to crisis, poverty, conflict, or discrimination, these children are at risk of being forgotten or ignored as they are assumed to be uneducable. The Speed School model helps out-of-school children to return to education.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

The Speed School model aims to change community and global mindsets so that it becomes unacceptable for any child to be denied a formal education.

Working in African countries with the highest rates of out-of-school children, Speed School condenses three years of foundational literacy and numeracy into just one school year to prepare students as life-long learners. Having caught up with their peers, children are able to re-enter mainstream education – or enter for the first time – at 3rd or 4th grade and join the local schools with children their own age.

This model’s impact is significant. Studies show that approximately 90% of children who participate in Speed School transition to the formal school system and continue their education.

How has it been spreading?

The Speed School model was designed by West African education experts in partnership with Strømme Foundation, Geneva Global, Luminos Fund, and local partners. Originally piloted in Mali in 2004, the three organizations have since introduced and continue to operate the program in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Niger, and Uganda. Plans for 2022-23 are to expand the model to other geographies, further demonstrating its wide relevance and impact. Meaningfully, governments including Ethiopia have taken significant steps to spread and sustain the program model’s implementation more broadly.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

01: Engage local government and stakeholders
02: Identify local implementing partner(s)
03: Identify qualifying communities and classroom space
04: Engage parents and guardians
05: Identify and recruit out-of-school children
06: Refine the curriculum
07: Recruit and train teachers to lead classes
08: Teach class
09: Monitor and evaluate
10: Transfer graduates to host schools

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Speed School has a proven track record of giving students a second chance by offering an accelerated program for the most vulnerable students. Since 2011, they have impacted over 120 000 students in 2 countries and continue to increase their impact through government partnerships that allow for the sustainability of the program.

HundrED Academy Reviews

Addresses the need to support young people with limited or denied access to school. Grounded in research and works in partnership with ministries of ed to ensure quality, focused curricula. Data indicates this results in students making it into mainstream education.

Love the work that they are doing not only because they make learning possible for these children, but especially because they are working to promote a change in mindset for communities through initiatives that make them see how education is important and how it can be profitable for all of them.

- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Spread of the innovation

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