CEI and UNICEF are excited to announce five finalists in a global search to identify potentially transformative education programs in the developing world.
Over the next year, the programs, which are located in Africa and Latin America, are receiving funding and other support to facilitate the improvement and diffusion of their models.
The education innovation search was launched in May 2014, and attracted over 150 nominations from 71 countries.
“During the selection process, we looked for innovative programs--ones that are testing a brand new idea, applying a common approach in a novel way, or doing so in a different context,” said Donika Dimovska, CEI Program Director. She added, "We also assessed the extent to which programs addressed equity, aimed to strengthen education systems, and explicitly focused on improving learning outcomes."
The five finalists are at different stages of development — from early stage initiatives, to programs with established track records. The funding they receive will fund not only implementation but also evaluation and testing of new program components.
The finalists are:
Lively Minds (Ghana) - Kindergarten teachers and mothers from each community are trained in play-based learning activities to ensure school readiness and positive socio-emotional outcomes for young children, engagement and knowledge development among parents, and development of age-appropriate instructional approaches among teachers. The play schemes are being scaled up to reach 50 communities in the Northern and Upper East regions of Ghana in 2015. Funding will support scale-up and evaluation.
eLearning Sudan (Sudan) – This pilot project gives children who have in many cases never before attended school access to Grade 1 math curriculum through a self-guided math curriculum on tablets, powered by solar power stations. They use the tablets in existing community spaces, with the facilitation of trained community members. Roughly 600 children in 30 communities are involved in the 2014-2015 pilot. Funding will support pilot implementation.
Accelerated School Readiness (Ethiopia) – In this pilot project Grade 1 teachers teach an accelerated two-month school readiness program to 5 year-olds before they enter Grade 1.Two models are being piloted: a summer school approach and an approach that replaces the first two months of Grade 1 with the accelerated program. The 2015 pilot is expected to reach roughly 9,000 children in 180 schools. Funding will support evaluation.
Palavra de Criança (Brazil) - This mature program began in Piauí state in Brazil in 2009 and has since reached 224 municipalities. A comprehensive combination of curriculum development, teacher training, parental engagement, and assessment is used to ensure basic literacy for all children by the end of Grade 3. Palavra de Criança is currently being adapted for roll out in 14 municipalities in Amazonas state in 2015, where some of Brazil’s most marginalized and hard-to reach children are located. Funding will support implementation.
EduTrac (Peru) - EduTrac uses mobile technology to gather educational data that will enable information-based decision-making at national and local levels. Data collected will initially include teacher and student attendance, timely delivery of education materials, and infrastructure maintenance. Sixty schools total in one Andean and one Amazon region of Peru will be included in the 2015 pilot. Funding will support pilot testing, evaluation design, and baseline evaluation.
The runners up are:
Thabyay Education Foundation (Myanmar)
Occupational Therapy Support for ECD Centers (South Africa)
Vouchers for Retention and Learning (Moldova)
Identification and Integration of Out-of-School Children (El Salvador)
In addition to providing funding for the finalists to test and strengthen their models, UNICEF and CEI are synthesizing emerging evidence of each innovation’s effectiveness and documenting lessons learned about the process of scale up. A report will be launched in late 2015 sharing such evidence and lessons, with a focus on innovations' impact, cost-effectiveness, and stakeholder engagement.
(Featured image of eLearning Sudan courtesy of War Child Holland)