• Supporting children's quality Early Childhood Education.
  • Improving teaching for foundational learning.

Date: Thursday, 20th October 2022

Time: 14:45 PM – 16:15 PM Mauritius time (GMT+4)

Venue: Le Méridien Île Maurice

Storyline: According to the World Bank, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, close to 90% of students in Sub-Saharan Africa could not read with comprehension by age 10. These low results are due to insufficient effective reading instruction in classrooms in most countries. Evidence from the pandemic’s period, and the consequent school closures it generated, shows that progress is possible in training teachers to improve their teaching practices at scale and improve student learning. Effective strategies include structured pedagogy, teacher coaching and student materials, differentiated instruction tailored at the level of the student, and increasing instructional time to make up for all the classroom time that has been lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. Added to this is the need to focus on aspects of social and emotional learning, play-based STEM for early learning, and family literacy. Strong political will is likely to bring the much-needed salience for foundational learning. Implemented well, these proven solutions may enable countries not only to recover from COVID-19 learning losses, but also make significant progress to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for all by 2030 and contribute to achieving the goals of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. This sub-theme will focus discussions in three areas:

  1. Supporting children’s quality Early Childhood Education – focusing on foundational skills, including language of instruction, strengthening reading culture, community involvement, social and emotional development in ECD. Introducing mathematics and creativity through play-based STEM for early learners.
  2. Improving teaching for foundational learning – improving learning outcomes through structured lesson plans, teacher professional development, appropriate and accessible educational resources.
  3. Assessment informed instruction to support foundational learning, including a child-centered lens – introducing national assessments of early grade reading and mathematics, using assessment to track recovery from Covid-19 learning losses.

Discussions will also consider the cross-cutting areas of data management and utilization; gender, equity, and inclusion; education financing; and use of ICT.


  1. Agree on a shared commitment to advance foundational learning.
  2. Reflect on recovery strategies in the wake of learning losses experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  3. Share knowledge, experience and best practices to strengthen the delivery of foundational learning reforms and policies at scale.
  4. Explore potential stakeholder partnerships to improve the implementation of foundational learning programs.
  5. Propose ways to expand the use of assessment systems and research evidence to design foundational learning programs.

Expected outcomes

  1. Agreement about the next steps to take to build resilient education systems for delivering quality foundational learning in the future.
  2. Awareness of innovative approaches to assess foundational skills, link research to policy and reverse learning losses brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  3. Improvements in stakeholder partnerships to support governments as they align their policies and budgets with the Commitment to Action.

Moderator: Tim Newbold, Director Mobile NG, Africa Practice R&B 


  • Ramya Vivekanandan, Global Partnership for Education
  • Amos Dembele, Côte d'Ivoire (TBC)

Expert perspective:  Andrew Bakuluma, Content Specialist, Foundational Numeracy, VVOB Education for Development

Policymaker response: Hon. Guillaume Hawing, Minister of Pre-University Education and Literacy, Guinea


  • Hon. Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, G.C.S.K, Vice Prime Minister & Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mauritius
  • Hon. Dr. Francisco Pacheco, Secretary of State for Pre-School and Primary Education, Angola
  • Dr Bernard Bahati, Director General of NESA (National Examination and School Inspection Authority), Ministry of Education, Rwanda
  • Mr. Armando Ali, Chief Executive Officer, PAL Network
  • Dr. Manos Antoninis, Director, UNESCO GEMR, Presentation of the Africa Spotlight Report