Do For-Profit Schools Give Poor Kenyans A Real Choice?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bridge International Academies has set up more than 200 schools in Kenya over the past four years, and plans to open 50 more in January.

Using a school-in-a-box model, Bridge’s founders say it gives primary schoolkids a quality education for roughly $5 a month.

“We believe that we can be educating at least 10 million pupils around the world that come from families who live on less than $2 a day,” says Bridge co-founder Jay Kimmelman. “We believe that we can give them an education … that’s truly globally competitive.”

Primary school in Kenya starts at age 6 and runs for eight years. It’s officially free for all children, but parents regularly complain that government schools are overcrowded, understaffed and ineffective. Teachers often don’t show up, and parents are often expected to pay bribes to keep their kids in the “free” schools.

“What we are trying to do is provide parents a real option,” Kimmelman says.

To accomplish this, Bridge has set up a highly structured, technology-driven model that relies on teachers reading standardized lessons from hand-held tablet computers.

Source: NPR (link opens in a new window)