What is Speed School?

Speed School is an accelerated education programme that provides a second chance to education for out-of-school children and youth in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

In alignment with SDG 4, Strømme Foundation addresses the challenge of out-of-school children and the high proportion of school dropouts among adolescents. Using the established accelerated learning model (Speed School), our interventions increase access to primary and secondary education.

More than 275,000 children have fulfilled our Speed Schools between 2004 and 2021.


Speed School for children

Speed School consists of a condensed curriculum covering the first three years of primary education. Children aged 8 to 12 years are first taught to read and write in their local language, before continuing with an accelerated curriculum in French. After a final test, they can enrol in grade 4 of formal school to complete their primary education.



Speed School 2 for adolescents

Speed School 2 offers adolescents aged 13 to 14 a two-year accelerated learning course that makes them eligible to obtain the primary school leaving certificate and subsequently enroll in secondary school at 6th or 7th grade.



Speed School 3 - Vocational training for youth

Speed School 3 (S3A): To support the school-to-work transition, and in response to the high youth unemployment rates, we implement a vocational training programme for 15-25-year-olds. Participants in the programme are trained in vocational skills which will eventually facilitate local employment/self-employment.

Why is Speed School needed?

Child labour, including the worst forms of child labour such as mining and participation in armed conflict, exist in all three intervention countries.



Child marriage is widespread. According to UNICEF (2017), Niger has the highest child marriage rate in the world, with 76 % of girls marrying before they are 18 and 28 % marrying before they are 15. In Burkina Faso and Mali, an estimated 52 % of girls are married before they turn 18.

Other causes of children being out of school include long distances between the home and school, inability of parents to afford school fees and a general lack of awareness of the importance of education.

Children with disabilities face additional barriers to inclusion in education, are less likely to be enrolled in school and more likely to drop out. The Speed School programme will make special efforts to reach children with disabilities. This is done by ensuring that formal schools and Speed Schools are sensitised on disability inclusion and that children with disabilities are able to participate in education.

Enrolment rates for post-secondary and tertiary education are low in the three countries and the formal sector is only expected to create a small percentage of jobs. 

Addressing youth unemployment and underemployment has thus also become increasingly urgent in the face of a deteriorating economic and security situation. 

Strømme Foundation's programme in the three countries is closely aligned with national development frameworks and sectoral policies and thus anchored on national priorities. 


"Largely effective", says Impact evaluation report

In the first half of 2018, an impact evaluation was carried out of Strømme Foundation's Speed School programme to-date by the Fafo researcher, Tewodros Aragie Kebede.

The evaluation concluded that the programme was largely effective in achieving desired results and also demonstrated cost efficiency in resource use. The evaluation also provided observations and recommendations that will guide the further development of the programme, operationally and strategically, and notably related to ensuring that success factors from the Speed School programme can be used to enhance the formal schooling system.

Read the Fafo evaluation report here

The evaluation showed that the Speed School programme has provided opportunities for out-of-school children to return back to the formal school system and continue their education. The programme has a 90 percent rate of efficiency in terms of the number of students who are eligible to transfer to formal primary school among those who enrolled initially.