How to Create an Effective Accelerated Education Program
A Framework for Reaching Out-of-School Children and Youth
In every country, education has the power to change lives and drive development. Accelerated Education Programs create inclusive education opportunities for those who have fallen through the cracks, regardless of the reasons behind the fall.
More than 263 million children are out of school around the world. This number is greater than the entire population of Brazil (212 million) and more than two-thirds of the entire population of the United States (329 million).
Why are this many children and young people are out of school? Approximately 41% of children of primary-age have never attended school and likely never will. Poverty and marginalization prevents many from attending school or leads to them dropping out early. Girls and children with disabilities are more likely to never have the opportunity to go to school. For many others their education has been interrupted by conflict and crisis.
Accelerated Education Programs in Crisis and ConflictRead the literature review
What’s an Accelerated Education Program?
Accelerated Education Programs (AEPs) typically target children and youth from 10 to 18 years old. AEPs are flexible, age-appropriate programs that allow children who have missed out on education for any reason to quickly catch up. These programs provide students with a basic education that is certified and equivalent to the formal schooling system. In developing countries, AEPs can take various forms depending on what students in the community need.
AEPs vary widely around the world and they all have different levels of quality and effectiveness. No two AEPs are alike because these are not “one-size-fits-all” types of programs. Over the years, AEPs have evolved on a needs-basis, without specific guidance around creating these programs.
But today, there is enough evidence and a worldwide body of work to create operational standards and guidelines for what makes an effective AEP. Led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), USAID and eight other organizations have identified ten Accelerated Education Principles that provide clear guidelines for designing an effective program.
The organizations that created these principles believe that if the principles are applied, the AEPs will successfully help students obtain recognized qualifications in basic education. These qualifications enable students to transition into formal education programs, vocational training or employment.
About the Principles for Accelerated Education
The principles are organized around four core audiences: learners, teachers, program managers and local education policymakers. Each principle has a set of action points which are concrete steps for each program’s stakeholders.
The principles in actionRead the Accelerated Education Field Studies
Some organizations are already using the principles to design, monitor and evaluate Accelerated Education Programs. In Sierra Leone, Save the Children is using them to ensure marginalized girls and boys in six communities in Pujehun District can return to school, stay in school, and learn. The program’s staff is adhering to the principles and evaluating their impact.
Save the Children Sierra LeoneRead the case study
As more organizations and agencies adopt and use these principles, it will be easier to assess the quality of these types of programs over time. The hope is that these principles will provide a more standardized and harmonized approach to programming, leading to improved quality of programs, which in turn will result in the reintegration of more out-of-school children and youth into the formal education system, vocational training opportunities and employment.
Check out the following blogs to learn more about the principles in practice:
- Principles 1-3: Designing Flexible, Inclusive Programs for Learners
- Principles 4 and 5: Recruiting, Maintaining, and Developing Quality Teachers
- Principles 6-8: Accelerated Education Program Management
- Principles 9 and 10: Aligning Accelerated Education Programs with National Systems
Talk more about this topic with USAID’s Accelerated Education expert by emailing Nina Weisenhorn at firstname.lastname@example.org.