The Ethiopian government has made a firm commitment to supporting early childhood development and school readiness support nationally. However, the creation of Grade 0 (kindergarten) classes in all primary schools cannot be achieved overnight, due to limited resources, such as classrooms and trained teachers. UNICEF Ethiopia received a challenge grant from UNICEF Headquarters to test the effectiveness of two accelerated school readiness programs that may serve as a stop-gap measure until Grade 0 can be rolled out nationally.
AIR is conducting a 120-school randomized control trial to test the effects of each of the accelerated school readiness interventions on children’s academic and non-academic learning, attendance, and continued enrollment in school. We will also evaluate the extent to which the program has a positive effect on classroom teaching. AIR was awarded a World Bank Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund grant that will allow us to understand longer-term impacts through 2019.
This evaluation combines a rigorous impact study with cost information, which will help Ethiopian education leaders determine whether either of these accelerated approaches is effective and cost-effective enough to adopt as a national school readiness support strategy.
The project has received a great deal of attention internationally, because education leaders in many countries are eager to identify effective, scalable, and sustainable programs that can improve school readiness, and ultimately children’s education outcomes.