Facts & Figures
REGIONS IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE
Rural areas in the departments of Duékoué, Daloa, and Soubré
- Children aged 5–6
- Facilitators (trainees, current and retired primary teachers)
- Trainers from the Ministry of Education
- The Ministry of Education will deliver the ASR program using primary school facilities
- 3,000 children reached directly
- 3,000 parents/caregivers reached directly
- Extent to which children attending the ASR pilot are ready for primary school
About the project
In the absence of comprehensive early childhood education in Côte d’Ivoire, the Accelerated School Readiness (ASR) Program aims to support the government in improving school readiness of children who don’t have access to pre-primary school. The program focuses on getting children ready for school by promoting early learning and socio-emotional development and getting families ready to support their children’s transition into school. The ASR program is implemented during July and August, just before the start of the academic year, when primary schools are empty—thus allowing the program to use their classrooms.
At 10.5%, Côte d’Ivoire’s pre-primary enrollment rate is one of the lowest in the region. The government committed in 2016 to increasing pre-primary enrollment from 9% at that time to 25% by 2025. However, this target was lowered to 15.6% by 2025, considering the slow progress made to date.
The ASR program provides a temporary solution to boost pre-primary access, quality, and equity, working alongside the longer-term initiatives listed above. With the support of Education Partnerships Group (EPG), the Ministry of Education has designed the ASR program based on research on school readiness programs in Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Laos, Mali, Mozambique, and Tanzania. As the literature on ASR programming is limited, and there currently are no cross-evaluations of program designs, these case studies were used to understand the most common implementation traits along with the challenges experienced, to inform the Ivoirian pilot.
The government aims to achieve its enrollment target through a combination of increasing the number of pre-primary classrooms in existing primary schools, restructuring existing kindergartens, and establishing community preschools and private provision. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education aims to capture a population who, due to the time lag of education reform, will miss out on going to kindergarten, and thereby risk not being ready for primary school.
Results to date
Initially planned for July and August 2020, the pilot has been postponed to July and August 2021 as preparations have been interrupted due to COVID-19.
There is growing clear evidence on the value of good quality pre-primary education for a smooth transition to primary school, a successful transition to secondary school, and to succeed later in life. Although the evidence on accelerated school readiness (ASR) programs is limited, the literature available highlights that existing ASR programs have contributed to reducing the learning gap. After participating in an ASR program, children with no prior experience with pre-primary learning demonstrate improved skills in literacy and numeracy, comparable to those who did not attend a preschool course. Thus, not only did these programs increase access and equity, but they also contributed to the quality of learning.
The ASR pilot in Côte d’Ivoire is not based on a comprehensive body of evidence, but rather on an appreciation of the key design features that may be best suited to the Ivoirian context to yield the desired results. It will be an innovation, one that it will be critical to monitor and evaluate effectively. If successful, it could inform policy development in the region. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) will lead the independent evaluation of the ASR pilot.