Contact innovator

Maretta Silverman
Ribbon HUNDRED 2022
We provide a second chance at education to children who have been denied the opportunity to go to school.

Speed School

location_on Ethiopia
The Speed School program works in Ethiopia and Liberia to help marginalized out-of-school children catch up on education in supportive, joyful classrooms with remarkable results. Over 90% of our students transition successfully to mainstream schools after completing the program, and go on to complete primary school at twice the rate of their peers.
Mary, a 9-year-old student from Liberia in our program
I love the games and songs, and the reading and writing activities. I am happy to be in this class because it makes school fun.

Mary, a 9-year-old student from Liberia in our program


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2022

HundrED 2021

HundrED 2020

HundrED 2019

Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
147 327
2 572
Updated on December 21st, 2021
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, or discrimination, these children are at risk of being forgotten or ignored as they are assumed to be uneducable. The Luminos Fund provides second chance education to these out-of-school children.

How does your innovation work in practice?

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

Working in countries with the highest rates of out-of-school children, our classrooms provide an accelerated learning program that condenses three years of foundational literacy and numeracy into just 10 months and prepares students as life-long learners. Having caught up with their peers, children are able to re-enter mainstream education at 3rd or 4th grade and join the local village schools with children their own age.

This program’s long-term impact is significant. Luminos has enabled 147,327+ students to re-enter mainstream education, and a University of Sussex evaluation has shown that graduates of the program complete primary school at twice the rate of their peers.

How has it been spreading?

The impact of the model has led the Ethiopian Ministry of Education to adopt it as a national strategy to reach out-of-school children. We are training government teachers and government officials at all levels in the Speed School pedagogy so that, in future years, the Ministry of Education can implement the program independently.

Since a successful 2017-18 pilot, in which the government operated 32 Speed School classes to reach 960 students, the government is now scaling their adoption of our model nationally to reach thousands of children with transformative, joyful, catch-up education.

The Speed School model was originated through a collaborative effort of the Stromme Foundation, Geneva Global, Luminos’ founder, and dozens of in-country local partners. In addition to Ethiopia and Liberia, versions of the program have been implemented in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Uganda. Plans for 2021 are to expand the program other regions and countries, further demonstrating its wide relevance and impact.

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

We recommend these steps:
01: Engage local government and stakeholders
02: Identify Local Implementing Partner(s)
03: Identify qualifying communities
04: Identify and recruit out-of-school children
05: Acquire classroom space
06: Refine the curriculum
07: Recruit and train teachers to lead classes
08: Teach class
09: Engage parents and guardians
10: Monitor and evaluate


HundrED Academy Review

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.

- HundrED Academy Member

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.

- HundrED Academy Member
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.
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

See this innovation in action

Ethiopia Inaugurates New Speed School Unit to Reach Out-of-School Children
Invest now to repair 'huge' learning loss, educators urge
The Pathway to Progress on SDG 4
Playing Catch Up, by Caitlin Baron. Luminos CEO, Caitlin Baron responds to Senior Advisor, Global Education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Girindre Beeharry's inspiring essay on #SDG4, for the Center for Global Development's Essay Symposium. Caitlin shares lessons on how to achieve Foundational Literacy and Numeracy at scale, and urges the donor community to stop seeking silver bullets for education, and focus instead on scaling NGOs with proven education models. 
Opinion: How to treat the learning crisis like a health crisis
Caitlin Baron: How to treat the learning crisis like a health crisis. An opinion piece published in May 2021 on Devex, by Caitlin Baron. Caitlin Baron is CEO of the Luminos Fund, a non-profit working in Ethiopia, Liberia, and across Africa to bring a second chance at education to out-of-school children.
Last Mile Teachers - Luminos Fund  An opinion piece published in July 2020 on Inter Press Service, by George K. Werner served as Minister of Education in Liberia from 2015 to 2018. Caitlin Baron is CEO of the Luminos Fund, a non-profit working in Liberia and across Africa to bring a second chance at education to out-of-school children.
During COVID-19, Luminos pivoted to provide remote learning for students.
Diaries from the Frontline: How Education Organizations Are Providing Food and Relief during COVID-19
Speed School Enabling 113,000 Children To Get A Second Chance At Education
Caitlin Baron On Ensuring Access To Learning To Students Despite Poverty, Conflict, Or Discrimination
On Human Rights Day, We Celebrate Youth And The Life-Changing Power Of Education
Caitlin Baron: Spreading Speed School Across Borders | HundrED Innovation Summit
The Luminos Fund - Speed School Program


Achievements & Awards

November 2021
HundrED 2022
April 2021
Lipman Prize
January 2021
Guidestar Platinum
September 2020
Charity Navigator 100/100
November 2019
HundrED 2020
November 2018
HundrED 2019
December 2017
WISE Awards Winner 2017
December 2017
HundrED 2018

Spread of the innovation

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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Engage local government and stakeholders
Speed School collaborates with regional education authorities on a variety of matters including identifying communities where the classes will operate and, at times, identifying classroom space.
Read more
Identify Local Implementing Partner(s) (IPs)
Local IPs are Speed School’s close collaborators and help identify the communities in which classes will operate.
Read more
Identify qualifying communities
Work with local IPs and local government to identify appropriate communities.
Read more
Identify and recruit out-of-school children
Speed School programs work with three groups of out-of-school children: (1) children who have never attended school; (2) students who have dropped out of school before acquiring the basic learning competencies; and (3) children who have had their education disrupted by conflict or displacement.
Read more
Acquire classroom space
Speed School classes may be housed in an unused room at the link school, a local house of worship, or a building donated to the program by a member of the community.
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Refine Speed School curriculum
Speed School condenses the official national curricula for Grades 1-3 into an intensive 10-month program broken into three phases corresponding to the three grade levels.
Read more
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