Rising Academies is a growing network of schools in West Africa. Founded in Sierra Leone in 2014, it provided emergency education to children kept out of school by the Ebola Epidemic before opening its first school in April 2015. It now runs 29 government schools in rural Liberia under the Partnership Schools for Liberia initiative, and 10 non-selective private schools in Sierra Leone serving families looking for a high quality education at an affordable cost.
Its mission is to unleash the full potential of every student, equipping them with the knowledge, skills and character to succeed in further study, work, and day-to-day life.
To achieve this, RAN's approach brings together complementary innovations proven to raise standards of teaching and learning. Key features of this approach include:
- - A school culture and ethos that encourages a growth mindset and celebrates the potential of every student to succeed;
- - Hand-picked teachers, carefully selected through a rigorous screening process;
- - Intensive pre- and in-service training with a strong practical component and an emphasis on rapidly improving core pedagogical techniques;
- - On-going teacher coaching and professional development through lesson observation, real-time feedback and role modelling by a Master Teacher in each school;
- - Detailed teaching guides specifically developed by international experts for every lesson;
- - A longer school day with the timetable weighted to allow greater focus on literacy and numeracy as the foundations for learning;
- - A curriculum that elevates the speaking of English to sit alongside reading and writing as a fundamental skill;
- - Careful monitoring and oversight through routine data collection and regular in-person visits.
Because RAN does not select students on the basis of test scores, it has a mixed ability intake and focuses on enabling every child to fulfil their potential regardless of their starting point. Independent evaluations in Sierra Leone and Liberia have found that Rising students make 2 to 3 times as much progress in reading and numeracy every year as their peers in other schools.Using complementary investments in teacher recruitment, pre- and in-service teacher training, curriculum design, lesson guides, data collection and school operations to provide an affordable, high quality education to students.
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CEI approaches in actionDeliveryChains or Networks of schools/centersStudent supportSchool supportLow-Cost Private SchoolsMath/numeracyLiteracyScience & engineering
Model details2014Comprehensive curriculumEnglish languageMath/numeracyLiteracyScience & engineeringActiveLong-term project8,50048%52%
RAN provides high quality education free at the point of use to more than 6000 children from subsistence farming families in rural Liberia under the Partnership Schools for Liberia program. In Sierra Leone, RAN's fees are designed to be simple, transparent and as affordable as possible. Parents pay via mobile money and can elect to pay weekly, monthly or termly depending on their preference. Students from the most disadvantaged families receive scholarship support. The occupational backgrounds of the families choosing to send their child to a Rising Academy school range from market traders and manual laborers to teachers and police officers.
Scale3939 School LocationsOctober, 2016
Student enrolment has grown from 1 school and 80 students in April 2015 to 39 schools and more than 8500 students by January 2018.
RAN hopes to add further schools to its networks in Sierra Leone and Liberia in future years, where there is demand from government and communities.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
RAN has a rigorous internal and external M&E framework. In Sierra Leone, it has commissioned researchers from Oxford University to conduct an independent impact evaluation. Students from RAN schools will be tracked over three academic years, and their progress benchmarked against a comparison group of students from nearby schools (both public and private). The principal outcome measures include internationally-recognised standardised tests of English and Maths as well as a custom measure of confidence, self-esteem and other non- cognitive traits designed by the research team. Baselining for the study was completed in January 2016, midline reports in September 2016 and October 2017, and a final report is expected in August 2018. In Liberia, RAN was part of the randomised controlled trial of Partnership Schools for Liberia, the midline report for which was published in September 2017.
Internally, RAN collects demographic data from students when they enrol including the number, occupational background and education level of caregivers and the number of dependents they are supporting. Key operational and educational indicators like attendance, behaviour, and performance on end-of-unit tests are tracked and recorded in a school information system, with parents receiving regular feedback via report cards.