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Accelerated Education Working Group

October 3, 2017 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am

OverviewOctober 3 Launch Event2016 Webcast

What is the Accelerated Education Working Group?


Overview of AEWG’s Accelerated Education Guidance Materials

The Accelerated Education Working Group (AEWG) is made up of education partners working in Accelerated Education (AE). The AEWG is currently led by UNHCR, with representatives from UNICEF, UNESCO, USAID, ECCN, NRC, Plan, IRC, Save the Children, and War Child Holland.

What is the AEWG’s Goal?

To strengthen the quality of AE programming through a more harmonized, standardized approach.

What is the purpose of the AEWG?

Globally, Accelerated Education programs are being employed with 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 program planning, implementation, and monitoring. In practice, AE takes different forms in different countries, and even within countries. Moreover, there is little significant documentation on the impact of such programming, including how far we are contributing to learning achievement and how successful we are at facilitating pathways between accelerated programming and formal and non-formal education.

To address some of these specific challenges related to AE, starting with the lack of guidance and standards, UNHCR invited a small number of education partners working in the area to participate in the formation of this working group in 2014.

What does the AEWG do?

AEWGThe AEWG comes together biannually to share experiences and expertise in AE and provides an opportunity for dialogue around a more harmonized, standardized approach. Based on the aim for a more standardized approach to AE, the AEWG has begun to develop guidance materials based on international standards and sound practice.

AEWG’s Objectives and Activities for 2017

  1. Improve AE (international and national) policy and systems through advocacy;
  2. Strengthen the evidence base for AE through research and knowledge management;
  3. Improve AE programming through the development, promotion, and dissemination of AE guidance and tools.

All objectives are linked through learning.

Activities for Objective 1: Improve AE (international and national) policy and systems through advocacy

The AEWG will advocate to improve AE policy and systems at both a national and international level through the development of key messages, a policy brief, and engagement plans for donors and Ministries of Education. The AEWG will communicate and promote key messages through blogs, websites, webinars, and at international education conferences and events.

Activities for Objective 2:  Strengthen the evidence base for AE through research and knowledge management

The AEWG has finalized its Learning Agenda and will now establish partnerships and conduct research to strengthen the evidence base for AE.

If you are interested in doing work linked to these research themes and questions please register here. This will enable the AEWG to track research and also enable you to see who else is working on similar themes. 

This year, the AEWG has completed a series of studies on the application of the Accelerated Education 10 Principles for Effective Practice. The review of the application of the AE Principles include four case studies (see resources below), conducted in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, and two programs in Dadaab refugee camp in North East Kenya, an overall synthesis report, and an executive summary of the findings. These case studies highlight how contextual differences are managed in assessing adherence to the principles and in ensuring effectiveness of AE programs generally.

Activities for Objective 3:  Improve AE programming through the development, promotion, and dissemination of AE guidance and tools

The AWEG will promote and disseminate the AEWG guidance and tools, including the translation into additional languages of the AE 10 Principles for Effective Practice, AE Guide and AE definitions, as well as the development of an AE “tool box,” containing a “how-to guide,” AE indicators, log frame, and monitoring tools. We will build on the understanding of AE, especially within AEWG member organizations, through the dissemination and use of the tools. All these resources are currently available in English and French and can be found below. Later this year, translations into Arabic will become available.

AEWG Resources

Please note that the Guide to the Principles is a beta version and is being field tested. Please contact Martha Hewison for further information, or if you are interested in taking part in the field test.

Case Studies

Additional Resources

You might also be interested in the slides of AEWG’s CIES presentations in Atlanta and a blog post on the findings of the field studies.


Keynotes and Presentations of Launch Event

October 3 Launch Event

ECCN is happy to support the Accelerated Education Working Group in launching its revised and updated guidance materials for accelerated education in crisis and conflict-affected countries. The updated materials include the 10 Principles for Effective Practice, the Guide to the Accelerated Education Principles, the Accelerated Education definitions, and its new Accelerated Education Learning Agenda.

How to Attend


Overview of AEWG’s Accelerated Education Guidance

  1. The event was hosted at EDC in Washington, D.C., on October 3, 2017
    See directions or this Google Map for information on how to get to EDC. Due to limited space, in-person attendance had to be limited to AEWG members and distinguished guests.
  2. The event was streamed live and the recording is available here.


Time Session Speakers
11:30 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Welcome Education in Crisis and Conflict Network / Accelerated Education Working Group Cornelia Janke,  Director, ECCN and Martha Hewison, Chair, AEWG / UNHCR

11:40 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Introduction to the Accelerated Education Working Group Ita Sheehy, Senior Education Advisor, UNHCR

11:50 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. Global Overview of Accelerated Education Nina Papadopoulos, USAID

12:05 p.m. – 12:20 p.m. Accelerated Education Working Group materials and tools Kate Radford, War Child Holland

12:20 p.m. – 12:40 p.m.  Panel Moderator: Ash Hartwell, ECCN

Brenda Bell, EDC

Dr. Mary Mendenhall, Teachers College Columbia

Dr. James H. Williams, George Washington University
12:40 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Q&A Moderator: Ash Hartwell, ECCN
1:00 pm Lunch

WebEx Chat Q&A

The following are questions posed during the AEWG launch event on October 3, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

Joshua: I do have a question. First, hearty congratulations for getting to this point. We look forward to studying the materials and to see how they might help us improve our work with Speed School, an AEP we implement in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Liberia. It seems that a good next step would be to gather and make available a database on what different AEPs operate, where, how, etc. Is there any thought of doing something along these lines?
Fe Nogra-Abog: Great presentations and discussions! Can panelists share their thoughts on how last 2 principles on alignment with MoE and policy frameworks can be addressed in a situation where you provide education to refugee population in host countries -- whose policies, standards are you supposed to be aligning? will this be meaningful to learners considering many things are unknown.
Harry: I have a question to the panelists regarding M&E of AEP. With regard to the efficiency of AEP, What do you think what kinds of tracer studies are needed from now on?
Joshua: Any chance of our getting our program into this database?
Aung Zaw Moe: Hello, my name is Aung Zaw from the Global Sleepover, a non-profit US based organization. We are looking for partnership opportunities to work for children in conflicts in Myanmar (Burma) in Rakhine State. Is there any specific projects that related to AE in Myanmar currently? Do you have any AE projects in Myanmar previously?
Claire Stiglmeier: Hello! My name is Claire Stiglmeier and I am an International Education Development Masters student at Columbia Teachers College. Mary Mendenhall mentioned that this may be a unique opportunity to shape scholarly research work to plan global standards. How can we conceptualize a universal set of standards or 'Global GED' program in order to address the potential for repatriation, integration, and resettlement of children in crisis contexts, particularly those in refugee situations?
Helena Sandberg: Thank you for the efficient work enabling us to be part of this seminar! I wouldn't be surprised if you even had a way of serving us lunch :-).
Miranda Cleland: Do the panelists have a favorite best practice example of teacher training in conflict zones, or resources for improving training programs? Oftentimes, the teachers in conflict zones might have missed out on their own educations growing up, which has been a big challenge where we work in Afghanistan. -Miranda, Aid Afghanistan for Education

AEWG Launch Resources

Please note that the Guide to the Principles is a beta version and is being field tested. Please contact Martha Hewison for further information, or if you are interested in taking part in the field test.

Case Studies

Additional Resources

AEWG Launch invitation

Invitation to the Launch Event

For the current version of these and other resources, please refer to the Overview tab. You might also be interested in the slides of AEWG’s CIES presentations in Atlanta and a blog post on the findings of the field studies.

Please contact us at usaideccn@edc.org with any questions.

(Last updated October 16, 2017)


ECCN, in partnership with the Accelerated Education Working Group (AEWG), hosted a webcast on June 9, 2016, offering a first preview of the AEWG’s Accelerated Education pocket guide, which features 10 key principles of Accelerated Education. Presenters covered the development, importance, and potential application of the Accelerated Education pocket guide and an overview of the 10 principles to guide development and implementation of Accelerated Education programming.

Please note that since the webcast, the title has changed from The Accelerated Education Pocket Guide to Guide to the Principles. The Guide to the Principles is still in draft and is being revised based on the findings from the field testing. The final guide will be launched in October 2017.

Webcast Presenters

Martha Hewison has over 20 years of education experience working for INGOs, donors, and governments in East, West, and Southern Africa, with a particular focus on education in post-conflict contexts and fragile states. Currently she is part of the UNHCR Education team, with a specific focus on supporting accelerated education programs, and is chair of the AEWG. Prior to this, she has worked largely in East Africa (Uganda, South Sudan, Somalia, and Kenya) with a specific focus on education and fragility.

Kate Radford, with War Child, has over 20 years’ experience working internationally in rights-based development cooperation, change management, program management, and evaluation and business development in the development, humanitarian, and private sectors

James Lawrie, senior education adviser with Save the Children, has 15 years’ experience as a teacher, researcher, policy adviser, and program manager working in numerous conflict, post-conflict, and low-income locations. He has been involved in Accelerated Education Programming in South Sudan, DRC, Bangladesh, and Uganda, and joined the AEWG in 2015.

Webcast Facilitator

Ash Hartwell has 40 years of field experience working at community, national, and international levels on educational policy analysis, planning, evaluation, and research. He has conducted program and project evaluations in numerous crisis and post-conflict countries, including Uganda, Egypt, and South Sudan. Over the past five years, he completed numerous consultancies, including serving on the core Leader Team for EQUIP 2, focusing on an analysis of alternative education models for underserved populations. Hartwell is M&E Specialist for ECCN and an adjunct professor at the Center for International Education at the University of Massachusetts. He joined the AEWG in 2015.

AEWG Webcast Questions and Answers

Brenda Bell: What definition of “accelerated” are you using? And where will you give that definition? Often “accelerated” is understood to be merely “fast-paced” rather than using accelerated learning principles that lead to deeper, more meaningful learning.
Jim Rogan: What research supports the good practices of the 10 principles?
Sarah Press: When selecting 'relevant' language and standards for the education of refugees outside their home country, do we always assume that home-country language and standards are the most 'relevant'? How do we ensure that refugee education aligns with home-country standards?
Stephen Richardson: How does the AEWG plan to advocate with ministries of education to accept/adopt said principles in the near future? If so, how can the larger AE community be aware of the progress with said ministries?
Tracy: How should AEP be financed and sustained?
Carl Triplehorn: Is there a Do No Harm philosophy in the principles? Often there is a tension between Accelerated Education and formal schooling, as trained teachers are attracted to Accelerated Education Programs due to regular pay and resources, or they take both jobs and are overworked.
Andreas: How are the 10 principles aligned with the INEE Minimum Standards?
Jeanne Moulton: How do you avoid duplicating and/or drawing resources away from the formal system?
Carl Triplehorn: Does the AEP research draw upon the alternate diploma programs in developed countries, such as the GED test in the United States? This would help to demystify what AEP is and how it fits into many education systems.



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