Bridge International Academies Delivers on a Child’s Right to Education
26 January 2016
STATEMENT: Bridge International Academies Delivers on a Child’s Right to Education
Bridge International Academies exists for one purpose: to ensure that every child, regardless of the location of her birth or income of her parents, receives an education that engages her mind and heart, and enables her to succeed academically, socially, and professionally in her country. Everything we do is to serve our pupils and ensure they receive a high- quality education.
Bridge is a dedicated advocate for the hundreds of millions of children who live in poverty globally. As long as there are 59 million children not in primary school, and there are a quarter of a billion children who cannot read despite being in school, a child’s right to education is being obstructed. Bridge works with families, governments, and donors to ensure that every girl and boy can attend a high-performing nursery and primary school. This lays the foundation for every girl and boy to succeed throughout life.
To achieve its mission, in the eight years since its inception, Bridge has opened more than 400 nursery and primary schools in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, which now serve roughly 100,000 children. In 2016, Bridge will partner with the Government of Andhra Pradesh in India to deliver high-quality education and strengthen the state’s school system.
The latest UN 2015 Millennium Development Goals Report finds that children in poor and rural households are only one-fourth as likely to have access to education, let alone a quality education, than their wealthier peers. Bridge supports world-class publicly financed education for all children. However, as documented by the Global Partnership for Education, UNESCO, Uwezo and others, schools in many developing countries continue to produce abysmal learning outcomes for children, especially the most impoverished.
In Kenya, as the Honourable Stephen Kariuki has stated, there are not enough public schools for every Kenyan child to attend. The Deputy Director of Quality Assurance at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Susan Njau has stated that 1.9m children in Kenya aged 6 to 13 years old are out of school. Since 1963, Kenya has asked communities and leaders to support the fight against poverty and to ensure literacy by creating Harambee schools. This is call to which Bridge is responding.
Without basic literacy and numeracy, these children are condemned to a life of economic marginalization. Parents want quality education for their children now. They cannot wait generations, or even 10 years or 2 years, for the publicly financed school in their neighbourhood to improve.
Bridge addresses this global, devastating reality, today.
What we do is working. Our results show that our pupils are achieving significant learning gains. Our first graduating class sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in November 2015 with exemplary results. Children from the two longest run schools, operating for 7 years, had a 100% pass rate and a mean of score of 333, nearly 100 points above the national mean score. Children who had been in a Bridge classroom for four years, scored a mean of 282, at least 40 points above the national mean score for public schools. For all 2,900 children who sat the KCPE, the mean score was 264, with 60% of all children passing. Bridge’s KCPE are out performing Kenya’s national average.
Bridge is an education innovation company – developing high-quality teacher and learner resource materials aligned with each country or state’s standards; designing high-impact teacher training; using technology to assist and guide teachers in the classroom; pioneering low-cost school-building techniques; and using A/B testing to constantly improve lesson design. All of these innovations are designed to continuously improve quality while reducing cost.
We focus on reducing cost because we need to ensure that as many people can afford our services as possible. By delivering innovation to benefit the children we serve today, we are also demonstrating that everything we do to create a happy and engaging learning environment, that develops children who believe in themselves, and their role in building our future – and who have the tools to do it—is affordable for other schools and education systems as well.
We are now working with various public institutions to ensure that innovations we can afford our service lessons we’re learning can be adopted in all schools. We have partnered with governments and non-governmental organisations to solve core education challenges, from teacher accountability to children’s learning gains.
As the only proven education provider to deliver significant learning gains for marginalised girls and boys at a cost per child of approximately $100 per year per child, Bridge is particularly suited to be a partner to public governments, ensuring that public schools remain free to parents, children develop to be knowledgeable leaders, and governments extend their budgets while getting accountability and performance results.
We are all working toward the same goal – to ensure all children are in school, happy and learning. To do this, we need more organisations working in the interests of children, working with urgency, and resolving to stand up for the rights of children to thrive.
Bridge is one part of a wider solution – even when we are educating a million children, we are only meeting 0.1% of the need. What we hope is that by demonstrating that it is possible to provide radically improved learning outcomes for children on an average cost of less than $100 per year, that more publicly and privately financed organizations will join us in making data-driven decisions to improve education for all children.
Bridge believes every child has the right to high quality education and works in partnership with governments, communities, parents and teachers to deliver education to over 100,000 children in underserved communities across Africa and Asia.
Bridge leverages in-depth teacher training and support, advanced lesson plans and wireless technology to provide pupils with a meaningful and life-changing education.
Globally, there is an education crisis. Around 263 million children and young people are not in school and the number of primary school aged children not in school is increasing. Bridge is committed to helping tackle this through a data driven, evidence based approach that delivers strong schools and a great education for all.