Jordan Worthington is a Program Associate at Results for Development, where she works on the Center for Education Innovations (CEI) and the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE).
In our feature image, students are studying at a Pratham Open School in Jaipur. Pratham Open Schools are one of 42 projects currently funded by the PSIPSE Collaborative.
In recent years, the global south has made measurable gains towards the goal of achieving universal primary education – by 2010, developing countries had achieved 90% primary education enrollment. Most children now have access to primary school, gender gaps in primary enrollment are narrowing, and literacy rates are on the rise.
When students begin to make the transition from primary school to secondary school, however, the picture is bleaker. Secondary schools are largely concentrated in urban areas, leaving students in rural areas with few options for schooling. The gender gap widens at the secondary level, as girls often face societal pressures to leave school to help with household chores, work, enter into early marriage, or help in raising children. Students who do attend secondary school often leave lacking the 21st century skills necessary to prepare them for the world of work or higher education that follows.
To increase transition and access to secondary education and to ensure that secondary education is more relevant for today’s youth, a collaborative of donors including Central Square Foundation, Comic Relief, Dubai Cares, ELMA Philanthropies, Human Dignity Foundation, Intel Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Marshall Family Foundation, MasterCard Foundation, and an anonymous donor, has decided to unite under the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) to invest in secondary education in East Africa, India, and Nigeria. They have released requests for proposals in 2012 and 2013, and have just announced a third request for proposals for USD 13 million.
The PSIPSE collaborative is currently supporting 42 grantees across the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, many of which are profiled on CEI. For example, Promoting Equality in Africa Schools (PEAS), is working on teacher training, school-based income generating activities, and a citizen education curriculum to prepare students for the range of work available to them following secondary school. In Nigeria, Co-Creation Hub has developed Efiko, a self-directed mobile app with learning games and quizzes tied to the country’s secondary school curriculum. The Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF), which runs numerous programs across Kenya, has been sponsored by the PSIPSE collaborative to scale up the “global give-back circle” model in Kenya, where private sector companies provide scholarships, ICT training, internships, and mentorship to bright girls. Aside from financial support, PSIPSE grantees are part of a learning community committed to achieving accessible, quality, relevant secondary education for those who need it most. Members of the PSIPSE community also interact on their own CEI forum and meet in person through regional convenings.
R4D, along with three local learning partners, the Center for Social Sector, Education, and Policy Analysis (CSSEPA) in East Africa, Catalyst Management Services (CMS) in India, and The Education Partnership Centre (TEP Centre) in Nigeria, work to support both the donor collaborative and the grantees by providing technical assistance, fostering grantee connections, as well as analyzing and synthesizing “what works” in implementing secondary education programs.
If you are a secondary education implementer or researcher working with poor or marginalized communities in East Africa, India, or Nigeria, we encourage you to apply for the PSIPSE collaborative’s recently released RFP. For more information, you can learn more about the donor collaborative and initiative, read about R4D’s role as the PSIPSE learning partner, meet R4D’s learning partner team, and access information about the RFP application process.