Promoting Access to Community Education (PACE)

PACE leverages the large proportion of Kenyan youth who are transitioning between high school and university and engages and trains them as teaching assistants to serve in some of the most disadvantaged schools for a period of three to six months.

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting

Location Data

Nairobi and Athi RiverPeri-Urban, Rural, Urban

Each year, 400,000 bright, young Kenyans graduate from high school. The majority experience a nine-month gap period before starting the new academic year at a public university. PACE leverages this gap period and the students’ untapped potential. The program effectively engages and trains these young people to deliver learning support for students in under-resourced schools across Kenya.

High school graduates apply to the program through a competitive application process that seeks individuals who demonstrate academic excellence, motivation and desire for personal growth, additional skills that they can contribute to the schools for extra-curricular activities, and a clear interest in improving education for children in low-income communities. After recruitment, the cohort of graduates undertake an intensive one-week training course before starting in their allocated school as a part-time teaching assistant (TA). Although voluntary positions, the TAs receive a travel stipend and commit to offering their time for a minimum of 15 hours a week over a period of two terms (six months). This program offers high school graduates an opportunity to develop critical 21st century skills and practical work experience before starting their university placement, and thus, building each individual's personal profile and employability while addressing a critical need in underserved Kenyan schools.

Kenya is experiencing a shortage in teachers, which results in high pupil-teacher ratios, especially in rural areas and informal settlements. PACE addresses this critical challenge by placing enthusiastic high school graduates in some of the most needy schools. Like the graduates, the schools undergo a competitive selection process where they must demonstrate need for additional staffing and willingness to embrace the program and engage their teachers in working with PACE TAs and attending PACE training.

Upon placement, PACE TAs are paired with a teacher at the school and act as a teaching assistant in their class, this may involve leading a section of the lesson, supporting a group of students or helping grade work. Both TAs and the teachers attend in-service PACE training on pedagogy and teaching methods. The TAs also receive additional mentoring on career guidance and financial literacy to further prepare them for the world of work. The working partnership is closely monitored to constantly improve and ensure TAs add real value to the school and learning outcomes of the children. The TAs write weekly reports and complete ongoing assignments. In the two years of operation, the program has shown impact in its schools through increased achievement at KCPE and improved school rankings in their district, which school leaders attribute to the PACE program. 

Reposition two human resources problems as solutions to each other: the shortage of teachers in school and the large number of young people who need to develop employable skills and have unused vacation time by creating teaching assistant positions. The program faces two key challenges: negative perceptions toward youth-led volunteer service in the education sector and the need to innovate around sustainability.

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