What is Accelerated Education?
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What is Accelerated Education?

My name is Nina Weisenhorn and I am a
senior advisor in USAID’s Office of Education here in Washington and I’m on
our education and crisis and conflict team. When a crisis hits, schools are
often interrupted. This means that young people either never had the opportunity
to enroll in school or they were forced to drop out to care for loved ones or
due to displacement. Accelerated education programs provide these over age and out of school young people an opportunity to continue their education
program. Accelerated education programs teach essential age-appropriate
foundational skills such as reading and math and do this through a condensed
curriculum that shortens the average basic education school years from 6 to
anywhere between 2 or 3 years of education. These accelerated education
programs are also delivered through flexible modalities and time frames such
as in the evenings, weekends, or in variable time schedules that allow for young people to be able to take care of other demands in their lives. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, USAID has been supporting accelerated education
programs for the last eight to ten years. We’re doing this by partnering with
local civil society organizations who are operating in the communities that
are generally outside the reach of the formal education system or where large
out-of-school populations, especially those who are over age, are present. We
found that civil society organizations that are embedded within the community
have a greater understanding of how to design, what time tables to use, what are
the relevant skills that young people need to be able to pursue a range of
opportunities as a result of the program. In the Democratic Republic of Congo in
particular, these programs have been highly effective. There’s a formal policy
that allows that students who go through these accelerated education programs
are able to sit for the primary school exams and get the exact same primary
school leaving certificate just as if they were able to go through the formal
education system. What we found through our accelerated education program in the
DRC was that where the primary school leavers or those in the formal education
system were passing the national primary school exam at a rate of approximately
70 to 76 percent, the students who went through our accelerated education
program were on average passing the national primary school leaving exam
between 90 and 95 percent. It’s really important when supporting accelerated education programs to not create a parallel education system but instead
provide complimentary basic education services that support young people to
have pathways back to the formal education system and encourage
age-appropriate instruction for all children.

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