Complementary Basic Education (CBE)


Learning and Development (L&D) Centre

School for Life Alumni




Teacher Exchange Programme (TEP)

CBE Alliance


Complementary Basic Education (CBE) is School for Life’s flagship program.  The program is aimed at giving out of school children beyond school starting age an opportunity to attain basic literacy and numeracy in their mother tongue.  The program has been in operation since 1995, and benefited over 170,000 children and their families.

Community based classes, led by volunteer facilitators for a maximum of 25 students between the 8-14 years of age , held over nine months teach basic functional literacy and numeracy skills in the mother tongue of students.  Following the program, approximately 80% of SfL graduates transition into the formal school to continue their education, entering school between P3-P6 depending on ability. 

Components and Values

The components and values of the CBE program, as well as School for Life’s pedagogical approaches are outlined in full the Components and Values paper.

Impact Assessment

In 2007, twelve years after the initial implementation of the program, an impact assessment was conducted, which demonstrated significant impacts at the individual, family, and community level.  The program was shown to have had a huge impact on improving the levels of educational attainment and achievement among ex-SfLers within the formal school system.  In addition to this, the study reported that the program has had remarkable success in addressing gender inequality by helping parents rethink the value of girl’s education.  .

The study also showed that the SfL program provides a strong foundation for learners to move from mother tongue literacy to second language acquisition in English, that they are able to learn independently and assist their peers. Finally, the values embedded in the SfL curriculum contributed to ex-SfL students being confident, disciplined and self-motivated, positioning them as positive role models among their peers.  The full report can be accessed here.

Government of Ghana CBE Policy

The Government of Ghana has recognised the success of the method, and is currently in the process of working with civil society organisations to replicate the program nationwide, through the Complementary Basic Education Policy.  School for Life is an implementing partner in the nationwide rollout, funded by DFID.

Related Articles:

Read more about School for Life’s Complementary Basic Education Programme in the articles below:

·       Complementary Basic Education offers a chance for out of school kids, Kemsi FM, Aug 1st 2013


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