Facts & Figures

LOCATIONS GLOBALLY

India and Côte d’Ivoire

REGIONS IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE

Rural areas in Daloa, Issia, and Méagui departments

TIMELINE

2018–2020

TARGETED POPULATION

  • Children in first and second grade in formal schools
  • Children in multi-grade, multi-level community schools
  • FACILITATORS/ENABLERS/TRAINERS
  • Teachers
  • Community facilitators

KEY OBJECTIVES

  • 80% of students regularly attending the sessions
  • 10 teachers/5 facilitators using the methodology effectively
  • Ministry of Education planning to adopt this new adapted curriculum
  • 80% of children increasing their knowledge at the end of the implementation period

PARTNERS

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About the project

PALEC (Projet d’Amélioration de la Lecture-Ecriture et du Calcul) was introduced in Côte d’Ivoire to bring about a pedagogical change focused on improving learning outcomes in early grades. It enables students of different grades and levels to learn simultaneously in a classroom at their own pace through an extensive variety of teaching and learning materials.

Challenge

While considerable progress has been made to improve access to education in Côte d’Ivoire, universal primary completion remains a challenge with only 82% of children completing primary education. Additionally, more than 70% of children have not acquired grade-appropriate competencies in French and math by the end of third grade.

Solution

Pioneered in India by the Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources (RIVER) about three decades ago, activity-based learning (ABL) is an approach in which primary grade children are supposed to learn at their own pace. It uses a wide gamut of clearly differentiated resources that help children grow as independent learners according to their aptitudes and skills.

In Côte d’Ivoire, key features of PALEC include:

  • organization of multi-grade classrooms that are divided into groups carrying out independent activities with support from teachers and classmates;
  • curricula broken into units or milestones;
  • teaching and learning through a series of activities and opportunities for independent as well as peer learning;
  • teacher as a facilitator rather than just an instructor;
  • and assessments that are non-threatening and built into activities children complete, wherein they move onto the next milestone only after they achieve a certain mastery of skills.

Central to ABL is the concept of a “learning ladder,” where each rung on the ladder represents mastery of a given competency that a child must achieve before moving toward the next milestone. Technology integrated within the entire system captures attendance, learning indicators, and progress made in the class, thus allowing for timely intervention and support at district and state levels.

Results to date

A pilot was rolled out during the 2018–2019 school year in the Daloa region of Côte d’Ivoire across 5 formal schools to over 800 children in first and second grade, as well as in 5 community schools. A core team from the Ministry of Education is fully involved with the program development and implementation, including supporting the teachers. Ten teachers and 5 community facilitators have been successfully trained along with a team of inspectors, pedagogical advisors, and principals.

The evaluation of the pilot phase conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) showed mixed results in formal schools, where teachers managing large groups of children faced difficulties in applying the new pedagogy. More encouraging results were found in community schools with smaller classrooms. Overall, the technology component of PALEC presented challenges due to poor connectivity in remote rural areas.

Considering the evaluation’s results, PALEC experimenting was discontinued in formal schools, while it has been pursued in community schools during the 2019–2020 school year. A final evaluation will be conducted to inform the partners’ decision on a possible extension of the project to more community schools.

Scientific evidence

Studies by UNICEF and other developmental agencies have documented the overall improvement in both academic and socio-emotional skills using this approach. According to a 2013 UNICEF Policy Report, over 10 million children in 250,000 schools have been positively impacted by this program.

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