Pearson to invest in low-cost private education in Africa and Asia
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Pearson, the UK education company and owner of the Financial Times, has launched a £10m fund to invest in private schools in Africa and Asia aimed at providing affordable education for poor children.
The first investment from the new fund is a stake in Omega schools, a privately held chain of affordable, for-profit schools based in Ghana. Omega, which has grown to 10 schools and 6,000 students in two years, was founded by Ken Donkoh, a Ghanaian entrepreneur, and Professor James Tooley, a champion of low-cost private schools and professor of education policy at Newcastle University in the UK. The investment will allow Omega to expand from Accra to schools throughout the west African country, expected to benefit tens of thousands of students. Pearson already has a stake in Bridge International Academies, a chain of private schools in Kenya.
“Pearson is committed to achievement for all children, and focused on low-income families around the world,” said Sir Michael Barber, Pearson’s chief education adviser and chairman of the new fund. Barber was also an education adviser for the former UK prime minister, Tony Blair. “Low-cost private education is an important, complementary element of education in developing countries and should be seen as an active partner, with governments looking to ensure all children have access to a high-quality education.”
Apart from investing directly in affordable schools, Pearson said its new fund will also invest in organisations that provide educational support, including mobile content, teacher training and accreditation services.