Friday, March 13, 2015

Bridge International Academies: privatized mass education in developing countries

Developing countries need more entrepreneurs and business selling solutions that people want and need vs bureaucrats forcing interventions down their throats 'for their own good.' This is exciting. From the WSJ - "For-profit Bridge International Academies is challenging the assumption that governments and charities should lead education programs in impoverished countries":

Bridge’s founders are challenging the long-held assumption that governments rather than companies should lead mass education programs. The company’s goal is to eventually educate 10 million children and make money by expanding its standardized, Internet-based education model across Africa and Asia.

The Internet and Barnes & Noble Inc. Nook tablets are used to deliver lesson plans, which are then used by teachers. The tablets also are used to collect test results from students scattered across hundreds of towns and villages and serve as a means of monitoring their progress.

“It’s like running Starbucks,” said Greg Mauro, a partner at California-based venture-capital firm Learn Capital LLC, the largest shareholder in Bridge with a 15% stake, likening it to the coffee chain with standardized systems and procedures that can be replicated across new locations. If all goes to plan, the American-run, Nairobi-based education startup will seek a stock-market listing in New York in 2017, according to Mr. Mauro.

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