Mary, a 9-year-old student from Liberia in our program
What is Speed School?
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.
Speed School (also known as Second Chance) 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, Speed Schools provide an accelerated learning program that condenses three years of basic education into just 10 months. 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.
Speed Schools focus on a tight timeframe that complements and works alongside government schools rather than establishing a parallel system. Working closely with the Ministry of Education of each country, the program is customized for each national context.
The program empowers teachers to teach in a radically new way compared with traditional local schools. Speed School classrooms blend child-centric pedagogy as well as activity-based learning methods to ensure children not only grasp the minimum learning competencies but also develop a positive experience towards learning.
By hiring young people from the local community to teach in classrooms, Speed Schools also have a positive impact on communities. Teachers have a minimum of a Grade 10 qualification. Speed School teachers undergo intensive training to enable them to teach using activity-based education and other engaging learning techniques.
The long-term impact of the Speed School program is significant. Speed Schools have enabled 129,162 students to re-enter mainstream education, and University of Sussex evaluation has shown that graduates of the program complete primary school at twice the rate of their peers.
The impact of the Speed School model has led the Ethiopian Ministry of Education to adopt the model 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. After a successful 2017-18 pilot, in which the government operated 32 Speed School classes to reach 960 students, the government expanded its initiative reaching thousands of children. The government continues to scale their adoption of our Speed School model (now in its third year since the pilot) and reach thousands of children.
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