Education (early child education and primary education)
PRODUCT / SERVICE
Low-cost private schools and charter school network operating in 5 developing countries.
Founded in 2007 by Shannon May and Jay Kimmelman, Bridge International Academies is one of the largest educational providers in Africa and India. With over two thousand schools that, depending on the context, operate as low-cost private schools or publicly funded - privately operated schools. Since it began operations, Bridge has educated over one million children.
The organization strives "to be the global leader in providing education to families who live on US$2 a day per person or less" and to address the education gap that, according to the Education Commission, affects over 260 million children worldwide who are not in school, and the 600 million children who are in school but are not learning.
Bridge's massively scalable educational solution is grounded on technology. With teachers using handheld learning devices - akin to Kindles - that provide them with pre-planned lessons and teaching guides designed based on national curricula. These devices also track children's progress and based on this, adjust to the needs of the class, to best support a learning environment for all students.
They have adapted their model from an initial low-cost private school approach - with monthly costs per student averaging $7 - to now mostly running public schools, which are funded through blended finance models or by national or local governments. These public-private partnership schools offer free high-quality education to students and an opportunity for countries to strengthen their public education systems.
In response to school closings in all 5 countries where Bridge operates, they have made weekly activities and lesson plans available online that are country specific and grade / class specific. These resources include vocabulary, math, reading, educational activity sheets, and answer keys.
For each country, Bridge is also providing a list of context specific learning resources that include exam preparation apps, live classes, educational games, 2G instructionals, radio and television classes. In Kenya, they are leveraging two mobile networks' commitment to providing free internet access for students and free data bundles.
In addition to this, they have compiled a list of free resources (apps, websites, printables) that can be used to supplement at home education for the duration of the COVID-19 school closings. They are working on including more alternatives for students without access to the internet.
During the crisis, Bridge has kept all teachers through compulsory unpaid leave, but has maintained healthcare insurance and is providing a monthly gratuitous payment, equivalent to 10% of salaries.