All children have the right to quality education. Between 2019 and 2021, the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), in partnership with the Ministry of Education of Cote d’Ivoire, implemented a pilot project in eight cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire to improve teaching, learning and school facilities for primary school children.

This research confirms the importance of investing, not just in access to schools but also in the quality of the education provided, in terms of infrastructure, teaching methods, and the creation of a protective environment for children, underlining the positive benefits this can bring for children's success.

More than 2,200 pupils were reached by the project activities in primary schools in 5 regions of Côte d’Ivoire. ICI focused on creating a learning environment where children feel safe and protected, guided by effective teachers and school leadership, and supported by their parents and the wider community. A bundle of interventions was focused on teacher training in positive discipline, school infrastructure, and teaching methods to improve children’s learning and protection at school.

These activities include awareness raising training among teachers, parents, students and community members about child rights, child labour and alternatives to violence; refurbishment of classrooms; creation of school libraries; installation of equipment for school playgrounds; teacher training of the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) methodology for child-paced learning, and school support by SMS; and the creation of reading clubs, among others. Each of the activities have been previously tested in schools in Côte d’Ivoire, but never combined in this way. For this project, the Teaching at the Right Level methodology (TaRL) which aims to improve children’s skills in reading and maths was specially adapted for use with children in the first two years of primary school.

In the words of a teacher:

“... the methods allow children to talk and tell stories, even in their local language and this enlivens the class. The atmosphere in the classroom is great. This encourages the children to participate actively and motivates everyone.”

Key findings:

  • Intervention schools showed more protective school environments and higher levels of pupil wellbeing at school.
  • Teachers in intervention schools were significantly less likely to use violence to discipline children.
  • Children in intervention schools made significantly more progress in both reading and maths, than children in control schools.
  • The use of the TaRL methodology improved learning in both the older and younger groups within the intervention schools.

Read the full version of the report here.