The Accelerated School Readiness program supports strategic goals of the Ministry of National Education
Mr. Adama Coulibaly is the General Inspector, Coordinator in charge of Preschool and Primary Education.
What are the long-term educational objectives envisaged by the Ministry of Education and Literacy in Côte d’Ivoire?
The Ministry for Education and Literacy (MENA) has a long-term vision and we have set educational objectives for the education/training sector. This vision and our objectives are set out in our 2016-2025 Education Sector Plan. Our plan states that: “In 2025, the Ivorian education system provides all children and adults with quality, equitable and inclusive education and training that takes into account the transformational needs of the citizen. It makes him or her capable of contributing to the socioeconomic development of his or her community and Ivorian society, promotes social cohesion, and provides him or her with capacities in competitiveness and technological innovations.”
This vision is also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 4. Goal 4 aims to: “Ensure an equitable, inclusive and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
How does the Accelerated School Readiness program (ASR) fit into these goals?
The ASR program fits into these goals in two main ways. First the program aims to improve both access and inclusion in a multifaceted approach. For children aged 5-6 who have never been to pre-primary school, the ASR provides them with the opportunity to receive a preschool education which prepares them for Grade 1. Access and inclusion will be further improved through an awareness campaign and parent education, operating in parallel with ASR, to shift the community perceptions of pre-school education. The program specifically improves rural access and inclusion by bringing preschool education closer to rural communities. Targeting these communities is key to help remove parental bias and motivate parents to send their children to preschool willingly.
The second main way the program fits into our long-term education goals is by targeting educational quality through a number of key levers. The teachers selected to participate in this program have had their capacities strengthened through training. The program also provides parents with the knowledge and skills to support and accompany their children in their studies. The program is expected to support participating children make a smooth transition to Grade 1 and achieve better results. This then leads to the reduction in primary school repetition rates.
The ASR pilot phase is seen as a temporary but immediate solution to promote access, quality and equity in preschools. What initiatives are implemented to create a more permanent solution?
The current initiative includes creating community preschool centers and pre-primary classrooms in disadvantaged rural and semi-urban areas. This will allow children who initially did not have access to preschool, to enjoy their right to preschool education before going to Grade 1.
The second initiative will install pre-primary classrooms in all newly built or rehabilitated primary schools with six classrooms for five-year-olds.
How does the MENA oversee and monitor the implementation of the pilot program?
The supervision and monitoring of the pilot program implementation are conducted at a local and regional level, and then at a central level.
- At the local and regional level we have in place several types of experts who are responsible for different aspects of direct monitoring and supervision. For example, school principals make sure facilitators are punctual on their agreed days and times, and diligent in how they instruct both children and parents. Then, trained pedagogical advisors visit and observe facilitators in their classrooms to help with feedback and offer any adaptive adjustments. Inspectors ensure that each expert is present and does the work needed. Finally, regional directors supervise the ASR pilot phase in their respective regions.
- At the central level, the steering group and the ASR Management Unit follow the pilot phase progress through exchange, ad hoc requests for information and meetings, if necessary, by video conference with regional directors.
What are the next steps envisaged by the MENA for the ASR program?
Our next step is to get children into school! We will enrol the children who have completed ASR into Grade 1 and monitor how they are doing at school. In the bigger picture, assuming that the independent evaluation assess ASR as an effective solution, after the pilot phase has been evaluated, we will look to see how we can adapt future programs and policies.