Accelerated Education Report /Executive Summary/ Confidential


Globally, Accelerated Education (AE) programmes are employed with more and more frequency to address the overwhelming  numbers of out of school children and youth. However, while there is widespread agreement on the need for such programming among agencies and governments, there is insufficient validated documentation that provides guidance, standards and indicators for efficient programme planning, implementation and monitoring. In practice, AE takes different forms in different countries, and even within countries. This is particularly true in the Syrian response in the MENA region, where AE has been utilized to address the needs of Syrian refugee children but where there has been no unified approach or understanding.

The purpose of this consultancy was primarily to:
Provide the MENA Regional Bureau with a succinct and thorough analysis of the current situation of, and explore areas for possible expansion of AE Programs (AEP) in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey so that it can support greater harmonization and appropriate funding for programming for out of school children, adolescents and youth; focusing both on primary and lower secondary levels.

The research was conducted between September and December 2016.

The Accelerated Education Working Group’s3

(AEWG) 10 Principles for Effective Practice were used as a framework for this
research with each program mapped against the principles and questions for interviews and focus group discussions also based on the principles.
The principles were developed in response to the large number and wide variety of AE programs operating of differing quality and effectiveness and implemented by a wide variety of stakeholders but with no guidance or standards. These 10 principles aim to clarify the essential components of an effective AEP. The 10 principles are:

1. AEP is flexible for older learners
2. AEP is a legitimate, credible education option that results in learner certification in primary education
3. AEP is aligned with the national education system and relevant humanitarian architecture
4. Curriculum, materials and pedagogy are genuinely accelerated, AE-suitable and use relevant language of instruction
5. Teachers participate in continuous professional development
6. Teachers are recruited, supervised and remunerated
7. AE Centre is effectively managed
8. AE learning environment is inclusive, safe, and learning-ready
9. Community is engaged and accountable
10. Goals, monitoring, and funding align

It was agreed that programs that met the criteria of the AEWG’s definition of AE: ‘A flexible age-appropriate program that promotes access to education in an accelerated time-frame for disadvantaged groups, over-age out-of-school children (OOSC) and youth who missed out or had their education interrupted due to poverty, marginalization, conflict and crisis. The goal of
AE is to provide learners with equivalent certified competencies for basic education and learning approaches that match their level of cognitive maturity’ would be examined. Ultimately as so few AEPs met those criteria it was agreed to widen the scope to include other programs that targeted out of school children (OOSC).

1 MENA- Middle East and North Africa. This research was conducted in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey. Turkey is technically not in the MENA region.

The purpose was also to:
 Develop recommendations for actions and planning parameters in supporting AE for Syrian refugee children, adolescents and youth
 Expand on the above mentioned and other existing AE research findings by extending them to an examination of the Syrian AE
response context

3  The AEWG is an inter-agency working group made up of education partners working in Accelerated Education. The AEWG is currently led by
UNHCR with representation from UNICEF, UNESCO, USAID, NRC, Plan, IRC, Save the Children, ECCN and War Child Holland.

Summary of Key Findings and Recommendations
1. Programs should be Ministry of Education (MOE) led and certified.
The sustainability of any AEP rests on the relationship with the MOE in country. In the MENA region policies change frequently and the geopolitical context of the refugees is fluid. It has been shown in this context that programs operating outside of the MOE framework are at risk of, or often shut down (e.g. Makani’s in Jordan, Syrian Community Schools in Egypt) and do not result in certification.

  • Programs should be MOE led or operate under legitimate frameworks and result in certification
  • Advocate for well-established programs catering for OOSC to be brought under the mandate of the MOE (Makani Jordan, Syrian Community Schools (SCS) Egypt)
  • Advocate for programs catering for OOSC to be opened up to refugees (Community Schools (CS), Egypt)

2. National frameworks needed
In the Syria refugee hosting countries in the MENA region, two different models of AE were observed: those that were led by the MOE and those that were implemented by a diverse group of NGO’s, CBO’s, faith based organizations and communities.
The MOE led programs while demonstrating many strengths: legitimacy, alignment with national policies, resources, standardization, oversight, certification and clear pathways for reintegration, also have one weaknesses: the ability to be flexible. The MOE have to maintain operational regulations despite the diversity of locations, contexts and needs (e.g. the AEP in Lebanon, the Catch up Program in Jordan and the CS in Egypt) and are inevitably tied to MOE bureaucracy, oversight and supervision which often results in a lack of flexibility to put the learner in the center. Flexibility is particularly important in catering for the complex and diverse needs that over age out of school children (OOSC), especially refugees, face.
Programs implemented by a diverse group of organizations but who work outside of the MOE (e.g. Makani in Jordan, SCS in Egypt) are flexible enough to implement the program according to the particular needs of the community, context and most importantly the learner but have a major weakness in that because it is not MOE led, these programs lack legitimacy, standards,
oversight, resources, and ultimately do not result in a recognized certification.


  • Develop MOE national inclusive frameworks for implementation (e.g. Turkey) that programs can work within. 
  • Ensure these frameworks are flexible enough to cater for the diverse needs of learners whilst ensuring initiatives are linked to formal education and operate under the leadership of the MOE who provide supervision, legitimacy and recognized certification.

3. Improve harmonization and coordination
There are large discrepancies in design and implementation when comparing those programs to each other on the basis of the 10 Principles. There is also a lack of coordination within countries but also importantly between countries in the MENA region where similar initiatives are ongoing (e.g. the SCS in Egypt are similar to the TECs in Turkey; the Catch-Up Program in Jordan is similar to the AEP in Lebanon), yet each of these operates in silo. Coordination between countries in MENA should be encouraged, it would be cost effective, allowing lessons learnt and good practice to be shared and successful models to be improved and replicated. AE is also well established in refugee contexts in other regions (e.g. East Africa: Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda) and there is solid experience and valuable lessons learnt. It would be also useful to extend these lessons learnt and good practice to the MENA region.


  • Advocate for programs to contextualize and use the 10 Principles in order to improve harmonization anstandardization of programs
  • Integrate the principles through the whole program cycle 
  • The AEWG should take a leading role in sharing knowledge, disseminating good practice and lessons learnt within the region
  • AE needs to be on the regional SDG 4 agenda’s and other regional coordinating mechanisms

4. Ensure sustainability and exit plans are part of AEP design
Many of the programs implemented by a diverse group of organizations operating in the MENA region have proven that unless a program is working within a legitimate MOE framework they are shut down. All AEP’s studied, including those that are ‘MOE led,’ did not appear to have sustainability or exit plans as part of the program design. Depending on the context, by their very
design AEP’s should not need to operate for extensive periods of time and therefore sustainability and an exit strategy are critical.


  • Ensure that all AEP’s have sustainability built into the program design (which can largely be achieved by working with the ‘MOE led’ model) and have clear exit plans.

5. Provision for learners at secondary level
The lack of provision for learners at secondary level was also a key finding in the MENA region. The number of dropouts at secondary level in the focus countries is either double or near double that of primary age yet the majority of the AEPs focus on primary education. There are no AE programs that address the huge numbers of secondary aged students who have dropped out.


  • MOE’s should support and legitimize programs directed at OOSC 12 years and above e.g. Questscope, Jordan
  • All stakeholders advocate for appropriate funding to 1) expand existing AEPs to cater for children up to 18 (e.g. the catch up program in Jordan, the ALP in Lebanon); 2) implement AEP programs directed at secondary school-childrenespecially in countries where such programs are not available (Egypt and Turkey)
  • Design and rollout alternative education programs targeting OOSC 12 years and above e.g. vocational training, basic literacy and numeracy, life skills.
  • Promote retention programs to support children to complete basic education

6. Integrate psychosocial support (PSS) and life skills in AEP’s
The integration of PSS and life skills are an essential service for refugee children, whether in-or out of school, yet it was found that most educational PSS and life skills activities within the MENA region are short-term, low-impact and usually in the form of extracurricular activities. PSS and life skills need to be established as an integral part of the AEP curriculum with attached appropriate funding.


  •  Establish PSS as an integral part of the AEP curriculum and provide appropriate funding
  • Work with multi sectoral stakeholders to provide appropriate funding for social workers and psychiatrists to be available to children in AEPs