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A comparative study of accelerated education programs and girls’ focused education models in Ghana, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone

Worldwide, there are 258.4 million out-of-school children, with one third of this population living in sub-Saharan Africa. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation because schools have been closed and many more children are likely to drop out of school. Girls continue to face the greatest barriers. Governments in sub-Saharan Africa, in partnerships with NGOs, have been implementing various interventions to increase participation in basic and secondary education, including adapting alternative education models to provide literacy and numeracy skills to out-of-school children. Accelerated education programs (AEP) have emerged as one of the key innovations for providing alternative education because they are designed to be flexible, age-appropriate, and inclusive. Evaluations of AEP models in Congo, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria have demonstrated their role in improving reading, verbal, and basic mathematics skills in children. However, there is insufficient knowledge and evidence about the scalability of AEPs into rural and conflict-prone contexts.

This study seeks to generate lessons to enhance the scalability of AEPs in rural and fragile contexts in Ghana, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. It will conduct an analysis of four ongoing innovations. Each model will be assessed for its effectiveness in: reaching large populations of out-of-school children, particularly in areas where trained teachers have difficulty working due to lack of security; increasing access to education for girls and children with disabilities; and enabling the transition and retention of these children in formal schooling. The project’s intended outcome is a strong evidence base on the effectiveness of AEP and girls’ focused education programming across extremely poor rural areas and emergency contexts, as well as an increased capacity of governments to adopt and scale up effective programs.

This project is funded through the Global Partnership for Education Knowledge and Innovations Exchange call for proposals in East, West, and Southern Africa entitled “Generating and mobilizing innovative knowledge for regional education challenges”.

Project ID
Project Status
31 months
IDRC Officer
Joy Nafungo
Total Funding
CA$ 1,167,100.00
Sierra Leone
Education and Science
Knowledge and Innovation Exchange Program
Institution Country
Associates for Change Ghana Limited