Jonatan Freund


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 350,000 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. 


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 also 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.



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.


The full paper can be accessed here


Over 300,000 out-of-school children provided access to education through CBE of which 85 percent continue their education in the formal schools.

247 Facilitators supported to further their studies in tertiary institutions.

3, 651 Facilitators trained on the SfL methodology.

Translation of Learning Materials into 14 Ghanaian Languages (Dagbani, Likpakpaaln, Ncaam, Anufo, Ngbanyato, Dagaare, Gurene, Kasem, Kusaal, Birfo, Mampruli, Sissali, Ewe and Asante-twi).

117 pavilions constructed in SfL Project communities.

51 Teachers’ Quarters built in SfL operational districts.

Over 200 sets of classroom furniture provided to CBE learning centres.

Over 51 schools established as a result of SfL’s collaborative advocacy work with some communities in Northern Ghana.