The Guardian
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‘Bridge Academies out to provide affordable, world-class learning to poor children’




Across Africa, the key challenge many schools are facing is that children are in school, but not learning. This trend is highest in the poorer communities where public and low fee private schools are the service providers and also attract the lower end of the teachers’ market. This trend has resulted in poor children consistently underperforming their richer peers not because they are less intelligent but because technically, no one is teaching them.”

It was on the above premise that the Bridge International Academies (BIA), a low-income service provider, was created, to systematically provide quality teaching and learning to children in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa at affordable fee, according to the Country Director, BIA, Mrs. Adesuwa Ifedi.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos on the activities of BIA, which started operations in Nigeria in October 2014, Ifedi said with over 50 per cent of families in sub-Saharan Africa living below poverty line, and 55 per cent of these poorest families in urban and sub-urban communities across the world spending up to 20 per cent of their income to send their children to private schools, BIA came in to provide affordable world-class education to children from low income families.

She said the organisation, which also operates in Kenya and Uganda, is already offering affordable education to over 1, 200 children from low income families at a tuition fee ranging from N16, 500 to N30, 000 per session, adding, “Our target is to influence education 360 degrees and provide world-class education to over 400, 000 children from low income homes in Nigeria within the next 10 years.”

Expansion director of the school, Ms. Olu Babalola, stated that the organisation is not just in Nigerian to build and run her schools, but to partner with government to significantly contribute to the transformation of education delivery to low income families in the country.

She said, “We are data-driven and technology-enabled. Using smart phones and tablets, our learning laboratory enables us to monitor teacher and pupils’ performance in real time, constantly reviewing, and revising to ensure that we are offering a world-class education that will prepare our students for the 21st century. Our aim is to change the Nigerian and sub-Saharan educational landscape through the deployment of robust operating platforms and national syllabus aligned in early childhood and primary/middle school teacher and learner materials.”

She noted that with a purpose-built teacher training and support programme, and other educational innovations, BIA will demonstrate that quality teaching and learning at low cost is possible, adding that soon other private schools would begin to see positive results from BIA’s intervention.

She also noted that with six academies in Lagos, located in Ikorodu, Alimosho, Ojo and Badagry area of the state, the organisation plans to raise the number to 20 academies in the first term of 2016/2017 academic session.

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