Project Extension: Scaling accelerated pre-primary education

20 October 2023
These 4-year-old children appeared to be well on their way to being prepared for primary school.
Credit: GPE/Livia Barton

In the context of its extension until 2027, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX), a joint endeavour with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), is offering costed extensions to a selection of current applied research projects. Following a competitive process, the Adapting, testing and scaling a proven summer pre-primary education model in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Tanzania project is one of those selected.


The first 6 years of a child’s life are crucial to their development. However, only half of the population has access to any form of pre-primary education (PPE). Socioeconomic status, location, ethnicity, (dis)ability status, and gender all act as potential barriers to children accessing this programming. The effects of this lack of widespread PPE can be devastating, often resulting in children’s underachievement, repetition, and dropout once they enter primary education.

This project is adapting and testing an accelerated PPE model, a Summer Pre-Primary (SPP) model called LEARN+. It includes a 10-week intensive preschool program including parent engagement and education, hygiene and nutrition modules, as well as gender-responsive and inclusive (GR&I) teaching and parenting approaches. The program has been tested in collaboration with Ministries of Education in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Tanzania.

Results to date 

This project has contextualized and scaled the LEARN+ program from Lao PDR to Cambodia and Tanzania, developing tailored approaches to PPE to fit each context. Given the low participation rates of girls in PPE, gender, equity and inclusion assessments were completed in Cambodia and Tanzania. GR&I learning and teaching materials were created based on these studies, some of which include curriculums and training manuals. Interest in this model has been significant worldwide, particularly after project stakeholders presented their initial findings at UNESCO’s World Conference on Early Childcare and Education and the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in 2022. Government officials from Lao PDR and Tanzania have endorsed the program and committed to supporting its scaling.

Upcoming Plans 

With the growing interest in LEARN+ from education stakeholders, the project extension will expand knowledge generation and capacity strengthening, as well as deepen engagement with stakeholders to strengthen uptake and scaling. By continuing to generate lessons and best practices in both current and new communities, the project will inform education policy and support communities’ ownership over the programs. Building on the relationships formed and sustained throughout the years of the project, the extension will also launch government-endorsed toolkits, both unique to Tanzania and Cambodia and a universal toolkit with technical guidance for adapting, testing, and scaling the program in different countries. The project will also continue to build a community of champions to support the uptake of research findings through key moments and processes.

Further details on the project and updates can be found here