Baraket now studies in a government class after graduating from a Speed School. His mother, Sheto, participated in a collective savings group with other Speed School mothers. She has recently been able to set up a coffee shop and can now afford to send all her children to school.
The Speed School program employs an innovative, accelerated learning pedagogy—as well as supplemental programs in the community—to enable older children who have been kept out of school by poverty or conflict to get a second chance at an education. Originally conceived by the Legatum Foundation and Stromme Foundation and implemented by Geneva Global, the Speed School program has enabled over 100,000 children across Africa to get back to school.
The Luminos Fund currently operates the Speed School program in Ethiopia and Liberia, bringing over 15,000 children back to school this year alone.
HOW THE MODEL WORKS
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.
The model has three components:
The Speed School Accelerated Learning Program
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. By incorporating play-based education and other engaging learning techniques, we’re able to help children with a range of different learning styles succeed.
- Our education program is designed to cover the first three years of schooling in just 10 months, and to ready students to succeed in 4th grade in their local schools.
- Children learn reading, writing, and arithmetic skills from a participatory approach that places the child at the center of teaching and learning.
- Class sizes are capped at 25 which helps the teacher provide individual attention to each child and pace the learning accordingly.
- A 7-8 hour-long school day allows each concept to be presented through a variety of pupil-led activities.
- Continuous assessments with routine feedback and remediation ensure all children grasp the minimum learning competencies.
"The Speed School program, in addition to sharing similar characteristics of accelerated learning programs, introduces a distinctive pedagogy that not only enables out-of-school children to catch up on basic skills, but takes them through processes of learning that boost their capacity to learn both in the Speed School and subsequently in the government schools."
University of Sussex
2. Community Mobilization
The Speed School model is very community driven. The community helps us identify the most marginalized out-of-school children and find a place to house the Speed School classes. We hire local youth from the community to teach in our classrooms. Most importantly, we work intensively with the mothers of our students, to help them build a community of solidarity around keeping their children in school.
3. Capacity Building
From the beginning, we provide support to local schools that will receive the students from our Speed School program, introducing them to our unique pedagogic approach through training for their teachers. As the program track record grows, we work with regional and national governments to build their capacity to implement Speed Schools themselves.
When applicable, we also run supplemental programs including adult literacy classes and self-help groups where the mothers of Speed School students learn financial planning skills, receive seed money, and collectively save to invest in their children’s future education.
BECOMING LIFELONG LEARNERS
University of Sussex, our lead evaluation partner in Ethiopia, describes Speed School classrooms as a place where children ‘learn how to learn’. Despite being from the poorest households, students who have completed the Speed School program progress through their local schools at the same pace as their classmates. Their ability to advance their own learning is critical to their success.
Our work is designed to shift community and global mindsets such that it becomes entirely unacceptable for any child to be denied an education. By engaging parents, community members, educators, and government, we provide everyone in the learning ecosystem with tangible evidence that it is possible to enroll and educate all children.
The Luminos Fund works hand in hand with local Ministries of Education to customize the Speed School program for national contexts, and to focus our work in the highest priority geographies. In Ethiopia, we work with the government's national testing structure to ensure our children transition into mainstream schools.
The core program manual and most recent evaluation are available below. Please contact the Luminos Fund for further information on how to implement the Speed School program.
Pedagogical Review of Speed School
This report was commissioned to evaluate the pedagogical framework of the Speed School program, focused primarily on the ten-month accelerated learning component. Findings suggest that the content delivery structure of Speed Schools allows children to acquire knowledge and skills relative to their stage of cognitive development, supporting the distributed rather than scripted learner-centered pedagogy.
This guide provides an overview of the Speed School program and principles and provides basic teaching strategies. This dynamic guide contains a variety of activities to train new Speed School facilitators and to refresh the skills of existing Speed School facilitators. Delivered through a cascaded training model, it is designed as a reference for the implementing organizations’ training officers and supervisors who oversee the Speed School facilitators.