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A Dialogue: Long-term Benefits of Second Chance Education

A Dialogue: Long-term Benefits of Second Chance Education

On June 21, 2018, we had the pleasure of hosting Kwame Akyeampong in a dialogue about second chance education courtesy of our friends at the Legatum Institute. Professor Akyeampong is lead researcher on a longitudinal study, conducted by the University of Sussex Centre for Independent Education, regarding the Luminos Second Chance program in Ethiopia. He is also an expert in education and learning for out-of-school children and the evaluation of programs that support them.

The Second Chance program (Speed School in Ethiopia) is focused on primary school-aged out-of-school children living in remote areas of Ethiopia who have never attended school or who have dropped out. The Program provides children opportunity to be reintegrated into government schools after 10 months of accelerated learning instruction. It aims to improve individual learning by seeking not only faster learning but also deeper and more effective learning.

The longitudinal study tracked the progress of 1,875 Ethiopian children between 2011 and 2017. A third were out-of-school children who completed Luminos’ 10-month program in 2011 and transitioned to neighborhood government schools. This test group was matched and compared against 1,250 students from Government Schools.

Professor Akyeampong noted that the longitudinal study is proof that this program benefits children well into their future lives. The study revealed that even six years after completing the 10-month program, Luminos children do better than their government school counterparts.

They are happier, persist in school longer, outperform by more than 10 percentage points in English and Math, complete primary education at twice the rate, and have higher aspirations for further education and employment. Access the Luminos Summary of Sussex Longitudinal Study Findings here.

According to Professor Akyeampong, these long-term benefits are the result of the design of the Luminos program which supports smaller class sizes, nearly four times more reading hours than government schools, and a play-based, child-centered pedagogy and learning system that teaches learners how to learn. The Second Chance classes are supported by a parent engagement and self-help program that gets parents involved in their children’s learning as well as activities that mobilize the community to contribute to positive learning outcomes.

Professor Akeampong made the argument that not only was this longitudinal study one of the few conducted on programs for out-of-school children, but the results also provide an important evidence base that can be built upon to inspire best practice-driven reform and investment for children who are denied a chance to learn due to poverty, discrimination, and conflict.

The Luminos Fund would like to thank the Legatum Institute and all our friends and guests who shared this important moment with us and Professor Akyeampong. We look forward to expanding the circle of dialogue about the importance of Second Chance education for children at the margins of society. In the meantime, please take a minute to review the Luminos Summary of Sussex Longitudinal Study Findings.

Speed School Ethiopia Featured in Le Monde

Speed School Ethiopia Featured in Le Monde

In partnership with the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), Le Monde has featured Luminos’ Speed School program–a 2017 WISE Award Winner–in a recent article exploring how NGOs can support national education systems. Author Hélène Seingier argues that the “rigidity and lack of resources” in Ministries of Education limit their ability to reach the most marginalized children, and that programs such as Speed School have the flexibility to fill this need. The Speed School program takes a fresh approach to learning and pedagogy that reaches the boys and girls who have slipped through the cracks. The full article is available below or on Le Monde’s website.

Quand les ONG dessinent un système éducatif parallèle

Diverses organisations ont mis en place des méthodes adaptées aux enfants à la scolarité en pointillé. Dans les camps de réfugiés ou ailleurs.Et si on apprenait l’alphabet avec les mains, en modelant des A et des dans de l’argile ? Et si c’étaient les « grands » qui transmettaient ce qu’ils ont compris aux plus jeunes ? Avec ces techniques, en Ethiopie, les Speed schools ont déjà permis à 100 000 enfants non scolarisés de rattraper, en un an, l’équivalent de trois années scolaires. Cela a valu à la fondation d’être finaliste des Wise Awards 2017.

Comme des centaines de projets d’associations, l’initiative sort des sentiers battus de la pédagogie et réconcilie avec l’école des garçons et filles qui semblaient perdus pour la cause. « Dans le monde, 264 millions d’enfants ne sont pas scolarisés, notamment les filles, les enfants entrés trop tôt dans le monde du travail et ceux qui sont affectés par un conflit », rappelle Morgan Strecker, spécialiste de l’éducation à l’Unicef. Rigides et manquant de moyens, les systèmes étatiques peinent à accéder à ces publics – et encore plus à adapter l’école à leurs besoins. L’Unicef soutient ainsi un projet mené par Caritas au Liban, en Palestine et bientôt au Bangladesh avec les réfugiés du Myanmar. A travers des jeux simples, comme fabriquer une voiture avec des bouteilles ­vides, The Essence of Learning aide à ­recréer un lien avec l’enfant traumatisé, lui donne confiance en lui et le remet sur la voie de l’apprentissage.

Livret d’apprentissage modulable
C’est le même souci de l’adaptation qui guide les enseignants des Escuelas Nuevas (« écoles nouvelles ») de Vicky Colbert, lauréate du prix Wise 2013, cette fois dans la Colombie rurale. Nombre d’enfants y manquent plusieurs semaines de classe chaque année pour aider leur famille lors des récoltes. « Le système éducatif rigide expulse ces élèves et les fait redoubler ! Nous, on pense que c’est au système de s’adapter », affirme Carlita Arboleda, d’Escuela Nueva. Avec des livrets d’apprentissage modulables, en élaborant le savoir au lieu de le recevoir du professeur, les ­enfants assimilent les connaissances à leur propre rythme. La sociologue qui a créé cette méthode il y a quarante ans ­visait les écoles de campagne où plusieurs niveaux cohabitent dans la même classe. Mais l’absentéisme, le redoublement et le décrochage ont tellement chuté que le gouvernement a étendu ­l’expérience à toute la Colombie. Plus de 15 pays, de la Zambie au Timor-Oriental, ont depuis adopté le modèle.

Innovantes dans leur pédagogie, ces structures mènent aussi un travail de fourmi sur le terrain pour changer l’état d’esprit des familles. « En Inde, pour les communautés, une fille de 10 ans est trop âgée pour aller à l’école, elle doit être ­mariée », rappelle Safeena Husain. Elle-même élevée dans le patriarcat et la pauvreté, elle a créé Educate Girls (« éduquer les filles »), qui, en dix ans, a remis 200 000 fillettes sur le chemin de l’école. Le secret ? Une armée de 10 000 volontaires qui rencontrent les familles en faisant du porte-à-porte puis offrent des cours de rattrapage aux nouvelles élèves.

De l’Ethiopie à l’Inde, tous ces acteurs ­disent l’importance de travailler avec les gouvernements, notamment pour ­influencer peu à peu le système. « Il y a un manque de moyens des Etats mais parfois aussi de volonté, car éduquer intelligemment ces enfants pauvres n’est pas leur priorité », souligne Frédéric Boisset, président de l’association SEED, qui soutient des associations d’éducation alternative dans les pays en développement. L’une d’elles est Jiwar (« voisinage »), qui agit dans les quartiers défavorisés de Rabat ou de Salé, au Maroc. Elle s’installe dans les locaux des écoles et propose l’équivalent de classes maternelles gratuites, inexistantes dans le public. Sur les 3 500 enfants passés par ces maternelles solidaires, 90 % sont toujours scolarisés. Surtout, les activités sont axées sur l’ouverture au monde et la tolérance ; une façon de ­contrer l’influence des islamistes, très présents dans le préscolaire.

Prosélytisme
« Après avoir longtemps construit des écoles, nous sommes entrés dans les contenus des enseignements », précise ainsi Joseph Nzaly, de World Vision Sénégal. Il assure que le nombre d’élèves sachant lire en fin de ­cycle a quadruplé, et que la composante religieuse n’a jamais posé problème. Mais l’Afrique de l’Ouest est le terrain du chercheur Louis Audet-Gosselin, du Centre d’expertise et de formation sur les intégrismes religieux et la radicalisation, et lui dit avoir vu des élèves ­musulmans se convertir au protestantisme évangélique. « Cela fait partie de la foi évangélique de sauver” des gens par des conversionsEt certains Etats estiment qu’un certain niveau de prosélytisme est acceptable tant que l’ONG met en place des actions éducatives valables. »

Plus à l’est, au Kenya, le risque soulevé n’est pas celui du prosélytisme mais de la marchandisation. Les écoles privées de Bridge s’y attirent les critiques. Financées par des bailleurs aussi prestigieux que la Banque mondiale, elles sont accusées de faire payer chèrement aux ­familles un enseignement dont la qualité n’est pas évaluée. Preuves à l’appui, plus de 170 organisations du monde ­entier ont lancé un appel à la vigilance en août dernier. Avec ses millions de « clients » potentiels et tous ces jeunes esprits encore malléables, l’éducation parallèle attise bien des convoitises.

Cet article fait partie d’un dossier réalisé en partenariat avec le World Innovation Summit for Education.

Par HÉLÈNE SEINGIER

Learning through Play

Learning through Play

Brightly colored posters, hand-drawn by young students, adorn the classroom walls. Desks are clustered together throughout the classroom; the teacher weaves her way between students while they mold the letters of the alphabet from clay. A group of children crowd around a table, creating a song using the three letter words they just learned, while another group across the room is busy making flashcards to review their vocabulary. Laughter and voices drift in through the window as children outside jump rope to practice their multiplication tables

This scene is taking place in classrooms in rural Ethiopia where the traditional chalk-and-talk style of teaching is being replaced with something new. Those hand-drawn posters are hung from the mud walls and thatched roof of a one-room classroom; the children writing songs are learning English, Amharic, and a third local language. This is Speed School.

A typical Speed School classroom in Ethiopia. Students sit in groups so they can interact with their peers, and colorful posters on the walls and hung from the ceiling help make Speed School a warm, engaging learning environment.

The Speed School classroom promotes child-centric learning where the students dictate the speed at which the curriculum is covered. Teachers undergo training to present core concepts through a variety of play- and activity-based methods, including singing, role playing, crafts and visuals made from locally available materials, and the Think-Pair-Share approach in which students engage in peer-to-peer learning. The repetition of concepts is designed to reinforce learning and to reach children with different learning styles; to that effect, the teacher cannot move ahead with the class until all children have grasped the core concepts. This underpins one of the key principles of the model and of our thinking: every child can learn.

Angel, age 9, throws a ball to her classmate as they practice counting up by 5’s. Play is an essential part of learning, and the Speed School program brings playful learning to remote communities in Liberia.

The Centre for International Education at the University of Sussex, our evaluation partner in Ethiopia, describes Speed School classrooms as a place where children not only become functionally literate and numerate but also “learn how to learn” which instills in our children a quest for lifelong learning. In a 2016 review of the Speed School pedagogy, evaluators wrote, “The Speed School approach…questions assumptions prevalent amongst people all over the world about who can and who cannot learn. The teachers…seemed convinced that all the children could and would learn what was necessary to succeed within the curriculum. It is clear that the Speed School Program in its training had been successful in getting teachers and students to re-conceptualize who can learn and why.”

In 2017, Dr. Susan Rauchwerk, Associate Professor at Lesley University, authored a full analysis of the elements of play in the Speed School pedagogy and their positive impact on students’ learning, drawing from a broader program evaluation conducted by the University of Sussex. Published in the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, the article states, “In Speed Schools, play is a platform for communication between teachers and students where teachers actively draw upon students’ life experiences and promote an environment where students feel safe and supported, ultimately leading to positive student outcomes. Play provides a pedagogical framework that shapes both the social structure and content delivery within the Speed School classroom. Classrooms are interactive, and learning is a process rather than an outcome.” The online version of Dr. Rauchwerk’s article is available on the IJLTER website, and a PDF version is available on our website.The Speed School program demonstrates how the integration of play- and activity-based learning into severely under-resourced contexts helps children develop both cognitive and non-cognitive skills that prepare them for lifelong learning. According to one of our young, female students:

“We were learning like playing and the things we learned as play have remained inside us like heritage.”

The Luminos Fund strives to unlock the light in every child through education. Here Speed School students in Liberia practice counting using rocks collected from the surrounding area.

Empowered Ethiopian Mothers Create Ripple Effect of Social Good

Empowered Ethiopian Mothers Create Ripple Effect of Social Good

This Huffington Post article highlights the Ethiopia Speed School initiative, where over 45,000 mothers across the country are keeping their kids in school, saving money and starting businesses.

Below is an extract from the article:

“Despite a vast history – it’s home to the world’s oldest human remains, it’s Africa’s oldest independent country and it’s even the birthplace of coffee–Ethiopia is most often portrayed through the prism of its struggle. It’s a struggle so often caricatured in the media as lacking and needing, and so often represented by figures of pity such as Starvin’ Marvin, that it can be difficult to see the country beyond the images and stories that have been embedded through repetition into our consciousness.”

Click here to read the full article.

Of Stones & Schools

Of Stones & Schools

In this Huffington blog post Cameron Conaway shares his personal journey to Ethiopia where he visited our Speed School program.

Below is an extract from the article:

“Of course there was a drought, droughts are part of the cycle of this region, but the government was also covering everything up. They feared losing power if either people throughout Ethiopia or the international community saw the terrible truth of what was happening. They blocked journalists and aid workers from coming in, and I remember great stretches of land lined with bodies… either people who were trying to sleep their way into death or those who already had.”

Click here to read the full article.

Speed Learning – Can We Train Our Brain to Learn Faster?

The Ethiopia Speed School program is highlighted on Learning World, a series of weekly TV programs feature on Euronews.

“The Speed School project in Ethiopia teaches out-of-school children all that they need to catch up on in a span of 10 months. Through an  Accelerated Learning System – a fun and activity-based system that uses games, music and flashcards – children learn the basics quickly. After passing an exam, most of them can go on to the final year of primary school and further.”

Learn more about WISE here.