Facts & Figures


India, Zambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, Ghana, Niger, Madagascar, Mozambique, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Pakistan, Nepal, Peru


Rural areas in the departments of Méagui, Gabiadji, and Divo




Children in third, fourth, and fifth grade


  • Teachers
  • School directors
  • Pedagogical advisors


Government schools


  • 25,682 children improving their numeracy and literacy skills
  • 671 teachers trained
  • 248 mentors (school directors and pedagogical advisors) trained
  • 4 national trainers trained


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About the project

The Programme d’Enseignemet Ciblé (PEC) was introduced in 2018 to address the learning crisis, whereby many children do not acquire essential foundational skills like reading and arithmetic at the right time, early in primary years. PEC is inspired by the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) model pioneered since the early 2000s by the Indian NGO Pratham for helping third to fifth grade (and even older) children who have been left behind to quickly catch up.


Despite significant progress toward achieving the target of universal access to primary education with a 94% net enrollment rate, Côte d’Ivoire is facing a learning crisis. According to the latest PASEC results, only 48% of students in Côte d’Ivoire achieve a sufficient threshold in literacy at the end of primary school and 27% in numeracy. Children in rural areas show even lower performance. In overcrowded classrooms, teachers tend to focus by default on the best-performing children. Those lagging behind are at risk of repeating and dropout.


At the classroom level, TaRL is a teaching approach that evaluates children using a one-on-one assessment tool and groups them according to their learning level rather than their age or grade. Each group is taught starting from what they already know with level-appropriate activities and materials. Children move quickly through the groups; for example, children who master letters then move to a group focused on words. This way, children can progress and catch up with the expected level.

Over the years, TaRL has been implemented by community volunteers, Pratham staff, and government frontline workers and teachers across India. Today, TaRL reaches millions of children each year.

The Ministry of Education of Côte d’Ivoire partnered with TaRL Africa to adapt to the Ivorian context and pilot the Programme d’Enseignement Ciblé (PEC), the first TaRL-inspired program ever launched in French. PEC aims to improve basic reading and mathematics skills. Children are taught via engaging, fun, and creative activities adapted to their learning level.

Results to date

From October 2018 to June 2019, PEC was piloted in 50 primary schools in rural cocoa-growing communities (Gabiadji and Méagui). The independent evaluation conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) found positive results across all the indicators including, among others, strong engagement from all pilot stakeholders. Teachers were especially invested in PEC’s success; stakeholders in mentorship roles were less consistent, although strong overall. PEC earned a full recommendation for scale-up, with green checkmarks on all measures.

Therefore, PEC has been extended from the original 50 schools to 150 additional schools located in the rural cocoa-growing region of Divo during the 2019–2020 school year. The main objective of this extension phase is to transfer the implementation responsibility from TaRL Africa to the Ministry of Education, and to integrate PEC into the normal processes of the Ministry of Education. A joint workshop between the Ministry of Education, TaRL Africa, and IPA will take stock of the achievements and challenges of this extension phase, to adapt and correct course, as relevant, in the progressive scale-up.

Scientific evidence

The TaRL approach has generated some of the largest effect sizes ever rigorously measured in the education literature (Banerjee et al., 2017).  For more than a decade as the approach has evolved, it has been rigorously evaluated via a series of randomized control trials (RCT) carried out by researchers from Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT. Many RCTs conducted by J-PAL affiliates have shown that this program, if well implemented, helps students catch up. Today, TaRL reaches millions of children each year. It has not only been scaled to locations across India, but more recently begun to also be adapted and scaled by organizations and governments in countries in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.

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