Centre for International Education (CIE)

Expansion of the Speed School Programme to Ethiopia

Funded by the Legatum Foundation and managed by Geneva Global.


Features of a Speed School

Speed Schools - teacher in front of classA teacher stands in front of his class at a new Speed School in Ethiopia

  • Every child has their own text books and other learning-related materials (no sharing)
  • Class sizes of no more than 25 students
  • A 50/50 gender split between boys and girls
  • Teacher training in "linked schools" to improve acceptance of the transitioning students and improve education quality
  • Enrolment managed by committee via a Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) established for every school
  • A mothers' self help group for every school encourages parent participation and support and, consequently, more regular and prolonged attendance by pupils
  • 'Community Sensitisation' in all participating towns and villages enables and increases awareness of the importance of completing primary education
  • A parallel early-learning programme seeks to create links with as many partner primary schools as possible for Years 2 and 3

Impact Evaluation by CIE

Speed Schools - pupils (close)Avid pupils in class at a new Speed School in Ethiopia

Despite the apparent success and endorsement of Speed Schools across West Africa, there was a lack of robust research to inform the introduction of the programme in other parts of Africa. That was the reason behind an impact evaluation - based on a randomised but controlled trial design - undertaken by the CIE research centre within the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sussex to provide answers to questions on the effectiveness of an extension of the Speed Schools programme to Ethiopia.

The evaluation was intended to provide firm conclusions about the pilot programme as an effective route for dropouts to re-engage successfully with the formal education system. In the support of large-scale rollout of the Speed Schools initiative in Ethiopia such evidence was crucial.

Objectives of the Evaluation

The programme of research was designed to facilitate understanding of the Speed School's most effective components as applied in the Ethiopian context, as well as the causal impact of Speed School intervention on achievement and retention in primary education in the country. The main test of the project was whether children who underwent Speed School instruction over a 10 month period made successful and sustained transitions to public school. The evaluation also attempted to understand whether the introduction of pre-schools and self-help groups for mothers further enhanced the impact and effectiveness of a Speed School. In summary, the evaluation's main goals were:

  • to measure the impact of Speed Schools
  • to understand the impact that pre-school has on achievement and progression through the first cycle to the end of basic education
  • to understand the impact of teacher development for trained teachers on enhancing the learning environment - and whether it reduces dropout in the first two years of basic education

    Speed Schools - teacher in front of class (distant)A classroom scene at a new Speed School in Ethiopia

Evaluation Project Team

Project Leader: Dr Kwame Akyeampong
E: A.Akyeampong@sussex.ac.uk

Dr Ricardo Sabates
E: R.Sabates@sussex.ac.uk

Dr Benjamin Zeitlyn
E: B.O.Zeitlyn@sussex.ac.uk

Lead Researcher, Ethiopia: Mr Yohannes Amado
E: YohannesAmado@gmail.com

Project Coordinator: Julie Farlie
E: J.Farlie@sussex.ac.uk