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Luminos Recognized by HundrED Global Innovation Prize for the Second Time

Luminos Recognized by HundrED Global Innovation Prize for the Second Time

We’re thrilled to be recognized once again by HundrED.org as one of the top 100 global innovations in education. Shortly after we received the news, HundrED featured us in an article on their website. You can view the original article here.

Speed School Students Complete School At Twice The Rate of Government-Run Institutions

9.10.2018 | BY JOSEPHINE LISTER

Children on Speed School’s programme complete elementary school at twice the rate of their government school peers, a new report by the University of Sussex has discovered! The results show how the approach taken by Luminos, creator of Speed School, is proving more effective in tackling the widespread issue of children dropping out of school and not receiving a quality education in rural Ethiopia.

Speed School has been so successful that they are now also in operation in Liberia, where they are called Second Chance. The program in Liberia is the same as in Ethiopia, with a few adaptations to suit the local context – a key ingredient in making sure that an innovation still works when it is scaled to a new location, after all, no two cultures or countries are exactly the same!

Luminos credits its success to its holistic pedagogy. Children receive individualized instruction, are continually assessed to make sure they are all are on track and aren’t falling behind, their lessons are activity-based and are on multiple subject areas, and they learn the fundamentals of how to learn, a skill set that sets children up for a life of learning. Children in these programmes also read four times as much as those in government-run schools.

The success of Luminos’ programmes aren’t just down to their contemporary pedagogical approach, they take this one step further by engaging whole communities in their work. Along with programmes like Speed Schools and Second Chance that make sure children can re-enter education and receive a better education, Luminos also actively engages parents through self-help groups and community mobilization, and they build the capacity of the community by getting teachers and school leaders up to speed. Together, this multi-stakeholder approach helps to make sure no child is left behind.

So what’s next for Luminos? There’s no slowing down, as Caitlin Baron, CEO at Luminos, told us their next goal is, “to bring Second Chance to another 140,000 children across five critical countries in Africa.”

Want to learn more about Speed School and Luminos’ impactful work? Head to their project page for more information.

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.

Annual Report 2017

Annual Report 2017

Dear Friends,

There is nothing like a child’s joy when they discover that all the world’s knowledge is available to them because they can read and write. It unlocks the light within and gives them a sense of freedom and opportunity. It compels them to want to learn all they can about our planet – its places, peoples, possibilities, and even problems. It inspires them to keep on learning – whenever they can and for as long as they can – as they strive to make a meaningful contribution to society throughout their lives.

We call this experience “joyful learning”, and we believe it’s something every child deserves. The unfortunate reality is that there are still millions of children worldwide who do not get a chance to learn at all. This is an injustice and an inequality that needs to be addressed. That’s why Luminos exists. We’re here for children like Mary in Liberia and Ahmed in Lebanon, who have faced barriers related to poverty, conflict, and discrimination that have delayed their opportunity to learn.

With your incredible support, however, Luminos has been able to step into the gap and provide a second chance to children like Mary and Ahmed. We are thrilled to be able to work with our dedicated network of implementing partners, committed investors, and thoughtful experts, who have helped bring joyful learning opportunities to life for these children in Ethiopia, Liberia, and Lebanon. Over the next three years, with your help, we will not only expand opportunities in these countries, but also bring joyful learning to children in other locations as well.

The recognition for our programs over the last year has been deeply humbling. We are honored and delighted to have received the WISE Award from the Qatar Foundation and the HundrED Global Innovations Award. It is a tribute to the hard work our children and their learning facilitators have put into their learning. We are so very proud of them!

In the coming years, we want to play a role in improving the information available to education decision-makers, encouraging more collaborative action, facilitating experimentation, and supporting evidence-based systems change as we work together to make joyful learning available to all children.

We look forward to your partnership as we progress in this critical journey. Thanks for your continuing support!

Caitlin Baron
CEO, the Luminos Fund

 

 

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

On Becoming the Luminos Fund: A Letter From the CEO

On Becoming the Luminos Fund: A Letter From the CEO

Dear Friends and Supporters,

2016 was an exciting year for us and our work to bring quality education to the world’s most disadvantaged children. In our first year as a standalone organization, we further scaled the Speed School program to bring 20,000 more children who were denied an education back to school. Additionally, we started running programs in Liberia and Lebanon with the support of three new, major funders.

Our success in scaling our work over the last year helped clarify and energize our broader vision for the Fund. What we have done with the Speed School program, we believe we can do across a range of similarly impactful methods for bringing quality education to the world’s furthest corners.

Over the course of the last year, each of you has touched us and our work in some meaningful way, supporting our successes, challenging us to think expansively about our future potential, and inspiring us with your own efforts. Your counsel, together with our experience, gave us the courage to transition now to a broader name, which better encapsulates our full spirit and vision. Reflecting on our mission to create education to unlock the light in every child, we have officially renamed ourselves the Luminos Fund. This is our new website, found here at www.luminosfund.org. Please take a look and let us know what you think. We will be following up with more stories of our work in the coming months.

We’re particularly excited about this name change because we believe it will help us bridge an unhelpful divide in the global education space. It so often seems that education reformers and philanthropists working around the world are having two separate conversations –

  • One is the talk of the ‘school of the future’, the Silicon Valley conversation, with a focus on how the latest innovations can help children achieve breakthrough levels of learning.
  • And the other, the developing world discussion, focuses on achieving basic literacy and numeracy for the hundreds of millions of children who are still left behind.

Both of these dialogues are vital to our collective future, but we believe it is a mistake to keep them separate. Our role as the Luminos Fund is to make these two conversations one. There’s no reason unprecedented innovation can’t occur at the very frontiers of the global education system. Indeed, with the right frame of mind, it is more likely that something transformative and different will come from these spaces at the margins of the system than from the heart of entrenched bureaucracies.

As the Luminos Fund, we will work to drive innovation at the margins of the global education system, enabling us to work with children in the greatest need and in the areas where the possibility for breakthrough change is greatest. Over the course of the next year, we will share new proposals for driving systems change and piloting best-in-class education innovations across the developing world. We hope we can look to you for further bright ideas and honest feedback as we architect our future work.

My first chance to share our new name came when I was in Liberia, on site for our first week of Speed School classes with 2,000 deserving children whose lives we’re changing through education. It seemed just perfect to be in one of education’s toughest corner—where less than half of all children get the chance to go to primary school—to restate a mission as bold as ours. The same old solutions won’t be enough to transform Liberia’s education system, but the good news is that they don’t have to be. Our work there is just one small example of the kind of transformative change we hope to catalyze. We couldn’t be more excited about the future!

With deepest gratitude for your ongoing support,

 

Caitlin