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Real-time Scaling Labs

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of innovations that improve learning outcomes. However, the vast majority still reach only a small fraction of the children and youth in need. How do we scale and sustain those initiatives that are most effective at improving learning for all?

To answer this question, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings has been investigating efforts around the world to scale and sustain evidence-based initiatives leading to large-scale improvements in children’s learning.

In the second phase of the project (2016 – present), CUE and partner institutions around the world co-created Real-time Scaling Labs (RTSLs)—a participatory, action research approach to learn from, support, and document education interventions as they scale in real time. The ultimate goal is to support initiatives as they deepen and expand while simultaneously gaining deeper insight into how policymakers, civil society, and the private sector can most effectively work together to bring about large-scale transformation in the quality of children’s learning and their development. The labs offer concrete opportunities for peer learning and exchange through in-person and virtual convenings while also generating knowledge on the “how” of scaling impact.

Select a location to learn about each scaling lab Real Scaling Labs
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Teaching at the Right Level, Young 1ove

Botswana

Dates: 2019-2023

CUE is partnering with the NGO Youth Impact (formerly Young 1ove), which works with the Botswana government to adapt and scale the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) remedial education approach that groups students according to learning level rather than age or grade. Youth Impact is working with UNICEF, the University of Botswana, the Ministry of Basic Education, and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport, and Culture Development with the goal of scaling up TaRL in stages with plans to reach all primary schools in Botswana by 2025. This lab brings together key stakeholders to collaboratively learn from and strengthen the adaptation, implementation, and expansion of TaRL in Botswana, as well as share key learnings with the broader TaRL community as other countries across Africa implement the approach.

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Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities, Jacobs Foundation

Côte d’Ivoire

Dates: 2018-present

CUE is collaborating with the Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities initiative and the Ministry of National Education and Literacy to implement a Real-time Scaling Lab centered around the government-led process of implementing, adapting, and scaling the Programme d’Enseignement Ciblé (PEC)—a remedial education approach to improving early grade reading and math adapted from Teaching at the Right Level. While the lab has focused on the experience of PEC to date, it serves as a case study into larger questions of how an evidence-based initiative can achieve progress toward national sustainable scale, with lessons that are transferable beyond PEC and Côte d’Ivoire.

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Financial Education Program, INJAZ

Jordan

Dates: 2019-2022

CUE is partnering with INJAZ, a nonprofit Jordanian organization, to draw lessons from the adaptation and mainstreaming of an NGO-developed financial education program (FEP) across the secondary school system in Jordan. The Ministry of Education—with support from the Central Bank of Jordan, commercial banks, and NGOs—is rolling out the FEP to improve youths’ financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills so that they can better participate in the national economy. The Real-time Scaling Lab documents and learns from efforts to mainstream financial education in all public, military, and public schools for grades 7 through 12.

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Ahlan Simsim

Jordan

Dates: 2018-2022

CUE is collaborating with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to assess how to scale the impact of the Ahlan Simsim project in Jordan. Ahlan Simsim is the largest early childhood intervention in the history of humanitarian response, combining an educational broadcast reaching 9.4 million children in the region with direct services for 1.5 million of the most vulnerable children and caretakers. CUE and IRC have been working together to identify scaling pathways in Jordan to sustainably embed the impact of the project into existing sectors and services that work with young children and their families across Jordan.

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Playful Learning Landscapes, Temple University Infant and Child Laboratory

Philadelphia

Dates: 2017-2019

In partnership with the Temple University Infant and Child Laboratory, this Real-time Scaling Lab learned from, documented, and shared findings on a Philadelphia-wide Playful Learning Landscapes initiative to transform everyday public spaces into learning opportunities to maximize the “80 percent” of time children spend outside of school. The lab documented how key stakeholders in Philadelphia united around the common activity of supporting children’s development and learning through transforming city spaces, and culminated in a final report on the scaling journey to date and lessons learned to help inform further expansion in Philadelphia and adaptation and adoption by other cities and countries.

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Teacher Professional Development @Scale Program, Foundation for Information Technology, Education, and Development (FIT-ED)

Philippines

Dates: 2018-2021

CUE collaborated with the Teacher Professional Development at Scale (TPD@Scale) Coalition for the Global South, through direct engagement with the Coalition Secretariat, the NGO FIT-ED, to draw out key insights and recommendations from the Philippine Department of Education’s scale-up of a blended TPD program for K-3 teachers in more than 36,000 public elementary schools across the country. Lessons learned were shared with coalition members to inform the expansion of TPD programs in other countries, as well as with the broader international education community.

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Learner Guide Program, The Campaign for Female Education

Tanzania

Dates: 2018-2021

CUE collaborated with the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), the Ministry of Education, Science and Technoloy, the President’s Office of Regional Administration and Local Government, and key education stakeholders to design and implement a Real-time Scaling Lab to scale the Learner Guide (LG) Program, a mentorship program that brings young women graduates into schools to facilitate a youth mentorship and life skills program. Findings from this scaling journey have informed future plans for institutionalizing components of the LG program in government structures within Tanzania, as well as scaling efforts for CAMFED programs in other countries.

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CUE and partners are drawing lessons from these RTSLs to feed into the process of scaling education initiatives, as well as contribute to a more robust, actionable evidence-base on scaling globally.

The RTSL process builds on the first phase of the Millions Learning project (2014-2016), which examined how policies and programs that have improved learning in low- and middle-income countries have gone to scale, drawing upon literature and case studies from around the world. The findings from this phase are captured in the “Millions Learning: Scaling up quality education in developing countries” report, which identifies 14 core ingredients that, in different combinations depending on the context, contribute to scaling effective practices and approaches that improve learning.

See the latest research from RTSL »

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