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Caitlin Baron

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How can you give students a second chance at education?

Speed School

The Speed School program employs an intensive, child-centered approach to reach the most marginalized populations, children denied an education due to poverty, conflict, or discrimination.

What is Speed School?

Mary, a 9-year-old from Liberia who enrolled in Speed School last year
“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 from Liberia who enrolled in Speed School last year

Worldwide there are 124 million children who miss out on basic education. Often excluded due to conflict, poverty, or discrimination, these children are at risk of being forgotten or ignored as they are assumed to be uneducable.

Speed School aims to change community and global mindsets so that it becomes unacceptable for any child to be denied an education and provide tangible evidence that it is possible to enroll and educate all children.

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 4th grade and join the local village schools with children their own age.

Speed Schools focus on a tight time frame which complements and works alongside government schools rather than establishing a parallel system. Working closely with the national agencies of each country, the program is customized for each national context.

While the outcomes may be country specific, the teaching and learning is dramatically different from a traditional government school. Speed School classrooms blend child-centric pedagogy and activity-based learning methods to ensure children not only grasp the minimum learning competencies but also develop a positive experience towards learning. University of Sussex research supports the pedagogical approach employed by Speed Schools.  

By hiring local youth to teach in classrooms, Speed Schools also have a positive impact on communities. Teachers have a minimum of a Grade 10 qualification. These facilitators undergo intensive training to enable them to teach using play-based education and other engaging learning techniques.

The long-term impact of the Speed School program is significant. Speed Schools have enabled over 100,000 students to re-enter mainstream education where, despite being from the poorest households, students progress through their local schools at the same pace as their classmates.

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Innovation Overview
10 - 17
Age Group
2 079
Tips for implementation
Classroom space is needed to open a Speed School. Often Speed Schools use classrooms in local government schools. Local communities help to identify potential locations.
Connect with innovator
Caitlin Baron
HundrED Review

The innovative pedagogical approach of Speed Schools supports children to make rapid progress and enables them not just catch up with their government school peers but actually overtake them when they return to mainstream education.


90% of children completing Speed School re-enter mainstream education and 75% are still in education 4 years later. To date there are 4137 Speed Schools and 100,000 students have gone through the Ethiopian programme.


There are still large numbers of children missing out on education so there is plenty of room for Speed School to grow. The program is already working in Ethiopia and Liberia. As well as providing the Speed School programme, the company also work with local schools to share their pedagogical approach, and they work with regional and national governments to build their capacity to implement Speed Schools themselves.


See this innovation in action

Caitlin Baron: Spreading Speed School Across Borders | HundrED Innovation Summit


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