Learning on: Learning from the Madagascar experience to improve access to secondary education for vulnerable children and promote student retention
In Madagascar, LUL-supported programs build on UNICEF's Education Strategy and increase its coverage of out-of-school children and children in school but at risk of dropping out. Generally speaking, the UNICEF Education Strategy is based on three pillars to improve access to quality education in formal schools: appropriate teaching materials, improved infrastructure on the ground, and capacity building for school governance. Government-approved teaching and learning materials in Malagasy were distributed to all students in 496 lower secondary schools in the three priority regions of Atsimo Atsinanana, Vatovavy-Fitovinany and Analanjirofo. These students also received bilingual French-Malagasy dictionaries to facilitate learning in a context where many children do not regularly speak French, the main language of instruction. The strategy also encourages the improvement of sanitation facilities at school - an important factor in promoting participation, especially of girls - as well as the training of pedagogical advisors, teachers and school directors, including in gender-sensitive pedagogical practices. In the regions of Vatovavy-Fitovinany and Atsimo-Atsinanana, 245 school principals received training in pedagogical supervision and subsequently conducted support visits to 167 schools in Analanjirofo.4 LUL funds also supported national efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic with regard to distance learning. The funds were used to produce and distribute textbooks for self-directed learning of Malagasy, mathematics, and French to 35,000 6th graders, whose education was interrupted during the school closures.