Bridge International Academies will launch a network of ultra-affordable high-quality for-profit private primary schools across Africa. Over the next decade, Bridge International will launch and manage schools serving more than 1 million children from families living in impoverished regions across Africa. Bridge International will launch 5 new schools at the end of this year, with 20 coming online next year, and a plan to reach 1 million students within a decade.
The current education systems in much of Africa and the developing world are stressed and underperforming, where on average, children perform at the 3rd percentile compared to children from developed countries. There is substantial evidence that these low-cost for-profit schools, if managed correctly, can overcome the critical problems facing existing educational systems in Africa and other developing countries, including the lack of accountability and the absence of incentives for improving performance and educational outcomes.
However, several critical challenges prohibit the burgeoning movement of stand-alone, single-proprietorship low-cost private schools from providing high-quality education to the vast majority of poor families. High variance in quality and cost effectiveness of individual schools, limited capacity to invest in innovation and instructional infrastructure, high initial capital investment barriers, and reliance on a limited set of uniquely qualified entrepreneurs able to succeed in local areas with little support and guidance all limit single-proprietorship schools.
Appreciating the value that private schools for the poor can bring in alleviating the critical accountability issue that plagues many government schools across Africa - but also recognizing that the current model of stand-alone single-proprietorship schools is not the complete solution - Bridge International Academies has developed a franchise-like model that overcomes many of these challenges in offering and scaling access to truly high quality affordable education. It does so by employing the key characteristics of successful franchises: developing a highly effective school unit operating model complemented by extensive training, support and research to provide a complete 'school in a box' package for a much broader universe of potential franchise owners, investing significant amounts in research-driven instructional innovation and management that can be leveraged by individual schools, lowering the cost of instructional support services and educational inputs through economies of scale, and implementing rigorous monitoring and quality control based upon data driven management across the franchise.
At scale, Bridge International's critical focus on the cost effective service delivery of its model and research-based allocation of instructional resources allows local operators to operate schools on a profitable basis, while maintaining a financially successful business model at the central level.
Through its unique model and approach, Bride International merges local accountability with centralized support, training, financing, quality-control and investment in innovation, to rapidly scale the provision of high-quality affordable education to poor families across the continent.