What is Accelerated Education?
Around the world, more than 263 million children and adolescents are out of school. For many of these children and youth, the formal schooling system may no longer be a viable option. Accelerated Education is an alternative. Accelerated Education Programs (AEPs) are flexible, age-appropriate programs run in an accelerated timeframe that allow those who have missed out on education to catch up. The goal is to provide learners with a basic education that is certified and equivalent to the formal schooling system.
This website provides a comprehensive collection of information about Accelerated Education, as developed by the Accelerated Education Working Group. You will find valuable tools, guidance notes, reports, and case studies as well as multimedia resources in which experts discuss what works best and how to design, adapt, and implement an AEP.
What is the Accelerated Education Working Group?
The Accelerated Education Working Group (AEWG) is comprised of education partners working in Accelerated Education (AE). It is currently led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with representatives from UNICEF, UNESCO, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Education in Crisis and Conflict Network (ECCN), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Plan International, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Save the Children, and War Child Holland.
What is the AEWG’s goal and what does it do?
The AEWG’s goal is to improve the quality of AEPs through developing guidance and tools to support a more harmonized, standardized approach to Accelerated Education.
In recent years, Accelerated Education programs (AEPs) have been employed with greater scope and scale as one of several solutions to the intractable issues of attracting and retaining out of school and overage learners within the formal education system. Yet, widespread variation exists in how AEPs are planned, implemented, and approached, with little or no overarching objectives, guidance, standards or indicators for what effective Accelerated Education (AE) provision looks like.
In response to this challenge, the AEWG has made significant investment and efforts to develop a conceptual framework for what constitutes good practice in AE. The development of the 10 Principles for Effective Practice and accompanying Guide to the Principles have created a foundation for improving program quality, design, implementation, and the assessment of results. Please see Resources for all of the AEWG’s tools and guidance.
The AEWG works in three main areas:
- Systems-level engagement and uptake for Quality AE;
- Influencing quality provision through the development of tools and guidance;
- Strengthening the evidence base.
For more details of what the AEWG does, please see the AEWG 2018 brief.
To contact the AEWG, please write to Martha Hewison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AEWG has developed a pack of tools and guidance for AE in multiple languages, including English, French, Arabic, and Spanish.
The foundation of all the tools and guidance are the 10 Principles for Effective Practice which capture the key components of any AE Program. In addition, the AEWG developed an agreed definition for AE as well as other key program terms, a checklist to help align your program against the Principles and a Guide to the Principles which further details the 10 Principles.
When initially developing these materials, the AEWG piloted them in three countries. Detailed case studies from Afghanistan, the Dadaab refugee camp in northeast Kenya, and Sierra Leone as well as an overall synthesis report and executive summary are all included below, in the additional resources. Strengthening the evidence base is a key area of work for the AEWG. Here the AEWG has developed a Learning Agenda for AE, which can also be found below.
The AEWG is currently working on a Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning framework, which will be out by the end of 2019.
- AEWG Executive Summary Accelerated Education Field Study
- AEWG Synthesis Report Accelerated Education Principles Field Study
- AEWG Brief 2018
- Accelerated Education Working Group Directions 2018
- AEWG Learning Agenda (English | French | Arabic | Spanish)
- AEWG Guide to the Principles (English | French | Arabic | Spanish)
AEWG Accelerated Education Definitions (English | French | Arabic | Spanish)
Accelerated Education: 10 Principles for Effective Practice (English | French | Arabic | Spanish)
AEWG Brief: The Case for Accelerated Education (English | French | Arabic | Spanish)
- AEWG Checklist (English | French | Arabic | Spanish)
- AEWG ECCN Webcast Presentation
You might also be interested in the slides of AEWG’s 2017 CIES presentations in Atlanta and two blog posts: Making a Case for Accelerated Education: How It Can Be Done and a reflection on AEWG at CIES 2018 in Mexico City, titled Making the Case for Accelerated Education. In addition, the findings from the field studies are available below.
Additional Resources: Case Studies
In 2018, the Accelerated Education Working Group (AEWG) is working in three major areas:
- Systems-level engagement for Quality AE
The AEWG wants donors and governments to recognize Accelerated Education (AE) as an important strategy for connecting humanitarian, early-recovery, and development programming.
- Improve the quality of Accelerated Education Programs (AEPs)
The AEWG wants to develop an M&E framework for AEPs that can be adapted to specific program designs, but still have a set of common indicators and outcome statements.
- Strengthening the evidence base
Developing a value-for-money case for AE is a critical missing component of the evidence base at present and the AEWG will explore developing this case in 2018. The AEWG will also continue to support and nurture existing and new research partnerships.
In 2017, the AEWG had three objectives:
- Improve international and national AE policy and systems through advocacy;
- Strengthen the evidence base for AE through research and knowledge management;
- Improve AE programming through the development, promotion, and dissemination of AE guidance and tools.
Activities for Objective 1: Improve international and national AE policy and systems through advocacy.
The AEWG advocated to improve AE policy and systems at both the national and international levels through the development of key messages, a policy brief, and engagement plans for donors and ministries of education. The AEWG communicated and promoted 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 published its Learning Agenda and established partnerships and conducted 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.
The AEWG completed a series of studies on the application of the Accelerated Education 10 Principles for Effective Practice. This included four case studies, conducted in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, and two programs in the Dadaab refugee camp in northeast Kenya, as well as an overall synthesis report and an executive summary. The case studies highlighted 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 AEWG promoted and disseminated 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 toolbox, containing a how-to guide, AE indicators, log frame, and monitoring tools. We built on the understanding of AE, especially within AEWG member organizations, through the dissemination and use of the tools. All these resources are available in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish, and can be found here.
On June 9, 2016, ECCN, in partnership with the Accelerated Education Working Group (AEWG), hosted a webcast that offered a preview of its Guide to the Principles, which features 10 key principles of Accelerated Education. Presenters discussed the development, importance, and potential application of the guide and gave an overview of the principles that underlie the development and implementation of AE programming.
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.
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