Reading for Success-Small Scale Experimentation (RFS-SSE)

Speeches Shim

A student in a reading class activity in a Moroccan primary school.
A student in a reading class activity in a Moroccan primary school.

Quick Facts

  • Project Duration: September 2015 – March 2018
  • Regions of Focus: Témara-Skhirat; Kenitra; El Hajeb; Taouanate; Figuig; Oujda Angad; Inezgane et Tiznit.


Morocco has made significant gains in providing nearly universal access to education in the last decade, with net enrollment rates in grade one surpassing 97 percent.  However, Moroccan children consistently rank among the lowest achievers on international assessments. The National Program of Learning Assessment (PNEA) conducted by the Higher Council of Education showed that only 24 percent of fourth graders and 36 percent of sixth graders possess the basic reading skills mandated in the national curriculum. In 2015, the USAID-funded research studies on reading in Morocco identified the lack of teacher training and the absence of supplementary reading materials to be two of the main factors affecting students’ overall reading performance.

Recognizing that lifelong learning achievements are built on a solid foundation of early grade reading, the Government of Morocco is committed to improving reading performance at the primary level.

USAID Response

In September 2015, USAID, in close partnership with the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, launched the “Reading for Success- Small-Scale Experimentation” (RFS-SSE) early-grade reading program. This activity is designed to develop and test the most effective approaches for strengthening children’s Arabic reading skills in targeted primary schools.

RFS-SSE focuses on the following activities:

  • Testing a new approach to Arabic reading lessons based on phonics that are being developed and tested amongst a control group of first and second grade students.
  • Improving teacher training guides to reinforce the new approach and reading lessons for teachers, trainers, and coaches.
  • Reducing summer learning loss by supporting Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to develop summer reading enrichment activities.

Achievements to Date

  • 12,000 students were reached with the new reading method.
  • Over 340 teachers have been trained on the reading instruction approach and provided with the instructional material kits.
  • Guidebooks developed for trainers, teachers, and coaches to assist in teaching the new approach.
  • 800 students are currently participating in the experimental 2017 summer reading enrichment programs.
  • Starting in the 2017-2018 school year, the Ministry will embark on a nationwide implementation of the phonics-based approach for reading instruction for grades 1 and 2.