Education Innovation Challenge

Over the years, a good number of interventions have been executed in the education sector in Sierra Leone by implementing partners, donors and government. The education sector in Sierra Leone is still weak and more needs to be done to determine appropriate and impactful interventions that will deliver a substantive change in learning outcomes. In its current state, primary school students are failing to learn basic reading and math. According to the EGRA Assessment conducted in 2014 by Montrose (contracted by UNICEF on behalf of the Ministry of Education), 97% of Sierra Leonean students score zero in an Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) for reading comprehension in Primary 2. By Primary 4 (after investing
in 4 years of education), 60% still score zero on the same reading comprehension assessment. The Government’s investment of 21% of the national budget in the education sector under the Free Quality Education Programme will not result in desired learning outcomes unless our schools do a better job of teaching basic reading and math to all children in primary schools.Given the mediocre learning outcomes of the education sector, the goal of this intervention is to increase the number of primary school students reading and doing basic math (improved competency in literacy and numeracy), whilst also incubating and learning from intervention methods that are feasible for national scaling under the Free Quality School Education Programme.

This requires analytics from strong data and evidence, as well as an adaptable approach that permits the government to learn quickly and invest its limited resources on the most promising solutions.

The Education Innovation Challenge will be implemented through the Human Capital Development Incubator within DSTI and the Office of the President. The goal is to design and pilot data-driven solutions to accelerate impactful investments in Sierra Leone’s education sector. It will be implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and under the statistical guidance of Statistics Sierra Leone.

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