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Ribbon HUNDRED 2021
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 (also known as Second Chance) works in Ethiopia and Liberia to help vulnerable out-of-school children catch up on education in supportive, joyful classrooms with remarkable results. Over 90% of our students transition successfully to mainstream school afterward, and graduates of our program 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 2021

HundrED 2020

HundrED 2019

Key figures

Innovation Overview

8 - 14
Age Group
129 162
1 602
Updated on March 17th, 2021
about the innovation

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. 


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

Achievements & Awards

September 2020
Charity Navigator 100/100
December 2019
Guidestar Platinum
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.
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Identify Local Implementing Partner(s) (IPs)
Local IPs are Speed School’s close collaborators and help identify the communities in which classes will operate.
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Identify qualifying communities
Work with local IPs and local government to identify appropriate communities.
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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.
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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.
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