MENA Expands Foundational Learning Intervention to Northern Côte d’Ivoire


For Immediate Release: 

MENA Expands Foundational Learning Intervention to Northern Côte d’Ivoire

May 23, 2023

The Ministry of National Education and Literacy (MENA), together with Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa has announced the implementation of the Programme d’Enseignement Ciblé (PEC) in the  Bagoué region (DRENA of Boundiali) in the North of Côte d’Ivoire. TaRL, known as PEC in Côte d’Ivoire, is an evidence-based approach that helps children acquire foundational skills in French and Mathematics. PEC is currently implemented in over 1000 schools in five regions, reaching more than 158,000 children, with a focus on the Southern part of the country. To achieve the Ministry’s national scale objective, PEC will now expand to all the schools of the Bagoué region,  reaching around 270 schools supported by the Funds for Innovation in Development (FID).

According to the Programme d’Analyse des Systèmes Éducatifs de la Confemen (PASEC 2019), despite massive investments in education in Côte d’Ivoire that have improved school enrollment, many children do not acquire basic skills in the early years of schooling and are never given the opportunity to catch up. The report reveals that Ivorian children finish primary school with significant gaps in French and Mathematics: 59.5 percent of children lack foundational reading skills, and 41.2 percent do not master basic mathematics skills. Children perform even worse in the Northern part of the country, which is more rural and suffers from high poverty rates, partly due to the 2002-2007 civil war.

“We have learnt a lot of lessons implementing PEC and look forward to scale in all of Côte d’ivoire,” Dramane COULIBALY, Director of the DRENA of Boundiali.

TaRL Africa has been working closely with MENA, providing technical support towards in-service training of teachers, building technical skills of key government personnel implementing PEC, supporting mentoring and monitoring and evaluation, and integration and mainstreaming of PEC into regular didactic practices and pedagogical process.

Speaking about the announcement, TaRL Africa Country Director Amos Dembélé said, “We are pleased to see the acceleration of political and strategic decision-making to implement drastic actions to tackle the learning crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, as a prelude to the PASEC 2024, bringing happiness to children, especially those of the Bagoué region. Through funding mechanisms like CLEF and PforR (Performance for Results), MENA has shown its commitment to scaling up PEC within PNAPAS (Programme National d’Amélioration des Premiers Apprentissages Scolaires), and has reported significant improvements in children’s reading and maths.”


About TaRL Africa: 

  • TaRL Africa is a not-for-profit organisation registered and headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with teams in Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Zambia. TaRL Africa began as a joint venture by Pratham and J-PAL in 2019, with the goal of supporting governments and organisations across Africa to accelerate children’s foundational skill learning using the evidence-based TaRL approach. TaRL Africa supports governments and partners to design, pilot, and scale up TaRL in over 12 countries in Africa. Together with partners, TaRL Africa reached over four million children with TaRL programming by 2022. To get more information about our work visit our website

Notes to the Editor:

  • CLEF is an innovative public-private partnership focused on systematically scaling investments to improve access to quality education in Côte d’Ivoire. The partnership is a pooled funding facility that has joined forces with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, the cocoa and chocolate industry, and philanthropic organizations to improve access to quality education for all children as a tool to promote children’s rights and combat child labor.

  • PforR : aims i) to improve access to education and health services in preschools and primary schools; (ii) improve learning outcomes; and (iii) implement performance-based management throughout the service delivery chain.

  • PNAPAS : The general objective of the PNAPAS is to federate all initiatives and actions in the Ivorian education system to strengthen basic skills in a single program to improve learning in reading, writing and arithmetic under the umbrella of MENA in order to contribute to the achievement of universal primary education.

  • In the year 2021-2022, successfully implemented the PEC in approximately 1000 schools. The program spanned nearly 20 weeks and aimed to improve reading and numeracy skills among students.

At the beginning of the program, the data revealed that 73 percent of the children were non-readers, while only 27 percent could read words and stories proficiently. However, after the completion of the program, there was a significant improvement in literacy skills, with the percentage of non-readers decreasing to 43 percent and the percentage of proficient readers increasing to 56 percent. For numeracy, at the beginning, there were 22 percent of subtraction doers and by the end of the program there were 53 percent of children who could do the subtraction question.

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