LOW-COST SCHOOLS, revolutionising education in AFRICA? – VisualPolitik EN


Africa is a continent of challenges, great
challenges. We’re talking about a continent that has
begun a process of modernization, but there’s still a lot to do: Develop a true health network; boost industry,
mechanize agriculture and, of course, respond to the enormous challenge of improving education. If we look at results from recent decades
and identify the countries that have taken the greatest economic leaps, we can see that
the common denominator has been an effort to implement high-quality education systems. In countries such as Japan, South Korea or
Singapore, the commitment to have first-rate education systems really facilitated their
economic transition. Within a few years, all of these countries
went from poor, rudimentary economies to becoming high value-added economic powers. That’s exactly what is happening now in
China. Of course, China’s success is due to many
factors, but throughout this entire process of economic takeoff, education played an important
role. And not only for economic reasons, but also
social, cultural and political ones. And now it’s Africa’s turn. Listen up. (SCHOOLS THAT AREN’T SCHOOLS) Obviously, getting Sub-Saharan Africa to the
education level of developed countries will be a mammoth task that will take decades. And just as a house is constructed from the
foundations up, all kinds of public and private organizations have invested billions of dollars
in reducing illiteracy and improving schooling throughout sub-Saharan Africa for more than
three decades. However… the challenge is sooo enormous…
that there’s still a lot to do. For example, the lack of access to education
in Africa is one of its biggest problems. Despite all the efforts made, more than 20%
of children aged between 6 and 11 still don’t go to school, and if we talk about children
aged between 12 and 14, the figure rises above 30%. The usual reason given for this situation
is the need in the poorest regions for children to work in the fields from a young age and
the difficulty in meeting the costs of education. Because you see, even though the free public
education model has been adopted widely throughout the African continent, parents still have
to pay expenses such as uniforms, shoes, books or transportation. And, of course, in such a poor region this
is often quite complicated. But if you think that the lack of access or
not being able to pay for expenses are the only problems hindering education in Africa,
you’re very, very wrong. The other great, and perhaps most significant,
challenge facing education systems in Africa has to do with very poor teaching quality
and with the wasteful and uncontrolled use of public funds. And many of you may be thinking, Simon, surely
you didn’t expect Africa to have Ivy-league class colleges after just a few years… But wait, because when we talk about “poor
quality teachers” we mean the standard is really low… In many African countries, such as in Sierra
Leone, it’s common to find fake teachers. These are teachers who receive a salary from
the government but who neither teach nor work. Since 2009 in Sierra Leone alone, more than
6,000 fake teachers have been detected and eliminated from the state payroll. Although, to be fair, this doesn’t only
happen in Africa. It’s a frequent problem in other poor countries
too. In Pakistan, for example, there were more
than 8,000 schools that received funds from the state but didn’t really exist. They were ghost schools. Where did that money go? Better not to ask. But that’s not all. Even when teachers do show up… Well let’s just say that in Africa, not going
to school, skipping classes, often has more to do with the teachers than the students. Check this out. Yes, in sub-Saharan Africa it’s common for
teachers to not show up regularly at school. Some studies show that in countries such as
Kenya or Nigeria this absenteeism affects 15% of the entire workforce. But if this already sounds crazy, listen up. In Kenya this percentage increases to almost
50% if we include teachers who go to school but who don’t actually go into the classroom
to teach. And then there’s the fact that it isn’t
uncommon for many teachers who do teach to, well… have difficulties reading or to not
really have a mastery of basic mathematics, even if they’re mathematics teachers. Basically… it’s a full-fledged disaster. And, no, opening more schools ISN’T enough. That won’t solve the problem. More things are needed. But wait just a second, because not all the
news is bad. In addition to public schools and the schools
that NGOs have opened with cooperation aid, there is another alternative that has recently
gained a strong following in the region: Private low-cost education. Yes, yes, you heard that right. Private and low-cost education in the same
sentence. Even though in many parts of the world private
education is reserved for people with high incomes, in Africa this barrier is eroding. Could private education help overcome the
problems of the continent’s education systems? I’m sure you’ve never asked yourself that
question. To delve deeper into this phenomenon and to
figure out what’s going on, in this video we’ll focus on the examples of two very
different countries: Kenya and Liberia. Kenya is one of the stars of Africa’s takeoff. Since 2013, its economy has been growing at
an average of more than 5% per year. Liberia, on the other hand, is still one of
the ten poorest countries in the world and is bogged down with a lot of social and economic
problems. So.. What is a country as poor as Liberia doing
with private education? How and why would a struggling country promote
a private education model? Listen up. (LIBERIA, AWARE OF THE DISASTER) The Liberian government has noticed that it
has a huge problem, so huge that it’s practically impossible for them to manage it themselves. After 14 years of civil war and constant epidemics,
education has remained a second-, third- or fourth-level priority. Add to this uncontrolled corruption and the
failure of public services is evident. Of course disastrous management goes hand-in-hand
with disastrous results. However, the Liberian government has decided
to break the mould and bet on a fairly novel way to ensure that the poorest have access
to better education. The people responsible for this strategy change
are the largest company dedicated to low-cost private education in Africa: The Bridge International
Academies, a company founded in 2008 in Kenya by two American friends. It currently has more than 600 schools that
offer education to more than 120,000 students. But, of course, it isn’t the only company
dedicated to this activity, not at all. There’s also the Rising Academies, another
of the main low-cost private school companies in Africa, which was founded by British and
Canadian entrepreneurs. But… as we don’t have time to talk about
all the emerging companies, we’re going to focus today on Bridge, which is the largest
of them all. And the first question we need to ask ourselves
is… How is it funded? Well… nowadays it can continue operating
mostly thanks to the support of institutions such as the World Bank and with donations
from business heavyweights such as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, the founders of Facebook and
Microsoft. Because, in most cases, these kinds of educational
companies aren’t profitable. They only appear to be viable because of the
donations they receive. For example, let’s take the case of Bridge
International. In 2016 they declared an income of 16 million
dollars but had operating losses of 12 million. That means their total costs were a whopping
28 million, meaning their costs were 75% greater than their income. But, just a second, don’t think we’re
talking about something like an NGO, not at all. These companies are for-profit. What happens is that they conceive a long-term
business model. They hope that the economic development that
has begun in many African regions will soon allow them to reap the benefits. And of course, in the meantime they receive
support in the form of multiple donations, such as those of Bill Gates, that more than
compensate for all business losses. But they often receive these donations precisely
because they have a feasibility plan. That is, because they expect it to be a profitable,
and therefore autonomous and sustainable project in the medium-term. Of course, spending is easy but managing to
create a self-sustaining project… that’s something else. And it is precisely for this reason, and despite
all these losses, that the company continues with its expansion plan. It’s all thanks to the more than 140 million
dollars it has earned in investments and donations. Surprised? The fact is that in 2016, the government of
Liberia, a country where less than 40% of children receive primary education, decided
to work with Bridge International. Why? Well… because obvious that public education
wasn’t working in this country. (“Teachers don’t show up, even though
they’re paid by the government. There are no books. Training is very weak. School infrastructure is not safe. We have to do something radical.” – George Werner, ex-minister of Education
of Liberia.) The point is that the Liberian government
signed an agreement for Bridge International to operate 93 public schools with more than
27,000 students. Access to these schools is still free, the
government pays for the students. To date, this is the largest agreement signed
between an African government and a private education company. And this experiment seems to be quite a success. In level tests, students from schools managed
by Bridge International achieve much, much better results than students from schools
operated by the state. To give you an idea of the divide, in the
level tests the Bridge students’ results can be 100% higher. That is, Bridge students do twice as well
as students from government-controlled schools. But… just a second, because in spite of
these positive results, not every country is making things easy for this type of education
business. Take for example Kenya, the very country where
Bridge International was born. Listen up. (KENYA’S MISTRUST) Let’s not fool ourselves. Private schools can pose a threat to state-controlled
education and many governments don’t like that. Neither do public school teachers. That’s exactly what’s happening in Kenya
where the National Teachers’ Union has been conducting a very tough campaign against the
low-cost private schools’ model for years. Supposedly they are against the teachers in
these types of centers who don’t have a government license. Even though the students’ academic results
are much better. (“Bridge is unauthorised and illegal”. – Wilson Sossion, secretary-general of the
Kenya National Union of Teachers.) There is some truth however to their arguments. The company itself recognizes it. (‘Technically, we’re breaking the law
but so are thousands of other schools who are operating like this”. – Shannon May, co-founder of Bridge International
Academies.) Among other things, the educational programs
aren’t written in the country they’re destined for, nor do they meet the local governments’
requirements, they’re usually written abroad. In Bridge’s case, educational performance
is even evaluated by Harvard professors. Which, to tell the truth, and without meaning
to offend anyone, is probably not such a bad thing when you consider Kenya’s politicians. Of course, not everything is rosy with the
private model. And sometimes unpleasant situations occur. Companies like Bridge International are still
for-profit companies, which requires parents to keep up with payments. And that can be a struggle in a place like
Africa. However, what’s the alternative? Public schools where teachers go to class
when they feel like it or where math classes are taught by people who hardly know how to
multiply? In sub-Saharan Africa, governments have proven
very ineffective in providing public services. That’s why many alternatives are emerging. In some cases, they are companies and in others
they are non-profit organizations. The important thing is that these initiatives
are revolutionizing education in Africa. (Low-cost schools are transforming Africa. – Forbes) Could it be that investing in private low-cost
schools that aim to be profitable is one of the best ways to help develop quality education
in Africa? Could it be that investments are better than
mere handouts? Leave your answer in the comments. So I really hope you enjoyed this video, please
hit like if you did, and don’t forget to subscribe for brand new videos. Don’t forget to check out our friends at
the Reconsider Media Podcast – they provided the vocals in this episode that were not mine. Also, this channel is possible because of
Patreon, and our patrons on that platform. Please consider joining them and supporting
our mission of providing independent political coverage. And as always, I’ll see you in the next
video.

100 thoughts on “LOW-COST SCHOOLS, revolutionising education in AFRICA? – VisualPolitik EN”

  1. A coming population explosion is only going to make the education system worse as the teacher to student ratio is going to be unsustainable to give children proper education.

  2. Who would have ever imagined that teacher's unions stifle the education of children? What are you going to tell me next? Police unions stand in the way of justice in the killing of unarmed citizens?

  3. Stop stating Africa as an ”one nation country” it is an insult and disrespect. No excuses that you get this material from “the Spanish channel”.
    Positives here are still that you take view on some case studies and rise them up but it is not enough and pretty limited.

  4. I’m Kenyan living in Europe and very frequently in Kenya.
    Having attended both private and public schools, Kenyan and British school systems: you miss a big part of the picture, in that not all public schools come equal. Quality varies and it does need addressing but the national education docket is huge. Bridge is a very tiny part of the Kenyan education system; it plays a niche part but the model is not a “saviour” by any means. There are many individual owned private schools (called academies), mission schools (founded by churches), many more founded by other religions. They play a huge role in education and have done so for decades; many offering world class education long before Bridge – despite the clear cases of low quality schools.

    As an example, at different points in time I attend a Hindu public primary school, two academies, a missionary founded public secondary school, a church run private high school and a fully private high school. Most of the top secondary schools in the country are also public.

    You are comparing apples to oranges here. Maybe Bridge can be a saviour in Liberia where UNESCO places adult literacy at 43%, but Kenya did not get to 80% literacy overnight and definitely Bridge didn’t move that needle significantly. They have a great niche contribution but they are nowhere near as impactful, and you really minimise a complex education system with some of the top University Faculties in Africa by focusing this all on the Bridge model.

  5. I think a little higher of Zucker and Gates because they decided to donate to for profit organisation. Zucker might not be as much of a Libtard as he is perceived to be.

  6. 10:19 that's ironic that you thought that there is a need to explain to the viewers that an increase of 100% is twice as much as the original 🙂

  7. So essentially African charter schools? I have mixed feeling about this domestically but the situation in Africa is obviously quite different so I guess if it gets more kids a good education that’s all that really matters.

  8. I hope those Bridge schools do well.
    But the example in Kenya where the state union teachers are fighting back does not bode well.

  9. I was born in Kenya and actually went back there to "experience" an year of private boarding secondary/high school as a teen (I'm sure any African kids with strict Dads know what that means, lol)
    I can see why people may think the teachers don't teach in the classroom 50% of the time… but in my experience, that's because of prep and study time. We woke up at 5am, had breakfast and were back in the classroom from 5:30am-7:30am for "prep" studies, then assembly … and then typical classes with 30 min lunch from 8am-4pm, cleaning, dinner and 1 hr of free time… if we were well behaved. But either way more study/school work time from 7-9:30pm.
    Even on weekends, there was 6 hours a day of mandatory classroom study time. It was ridiculous… and we mostly tried to just fuck around most of the time we were stuck in class after finishing work… but the teacher on duty patrolled all the classroom periodically to make sure our noses were in books.
    Not a good way of living, and it's different for those who just went to day school, but I suspect that's part of the reason for that number… Most boarders even in public schools had similar experiences, though sometimes with a bit more freedom.
    Place I went was stricter than most when it came to a lot of things.

  10. Unfortunately, bridge graduates are not outperforming their peers. And bridge teachers merely recite lessons from a tablet or phone. Almost all are only high school graduates, not teachers. Africa has a problem, but this isn't the solution.

  11. South Africa had one of the best education systems in the world – not anymore. It doesn’t suit the ANC’s agenda to educate the masses. One issue of African higher education is there are simply no jobs. In Senegal people with degrees would go from one company to another on 3 month work experience positions. Ultimately the full time job wasn’t there so now the well educated go to Europe and in particular France.

  12. Why don't African peoples understand that good education must be the first priority for every country regardless of political system.

  13. Thank you Simon, you've really taken us into a journey with the African Continent in the past years, it was a sleeping Giant that is finally waking up and would make a huge mark on civilization.

  14. This is one of the only politics channels i watch where i cant tell how the Presenter votes. An excellent and professional video as always, as you can expect from Simon Whistler

  15. Re: Kenya’s mistrust – that’s pretty much government 101. They don’t like it because they can’t control it. As I learn more about history the more disillusioned I am with government in general.

  16. IMO, Education is the one thing that should be trickle down because by it's nature it is. You have a limited pool of educators and mass public education does not work, just ask America. Having a small pool that expands as students become teachers eventually leads to mass education as it has historically. But unlike America, you WILL NEED to invest in teachers.

  17. I live in Africa, my school has free wi-fi, there are meals on twice a day.

    Currently the Govt is working on a transportation system…I am just sayin…I am university students

  18. The way walmart destroys small business, NGOs erase local economies, but when the cobbler makes his dues by selling shoes that leave childs in boos, well something needs to change.

  19. I feel like my country isn't in Africa. in Botswana we get free education all the way till tertiary where they pay you to go to school.

  20. I have been preaching for many decades that education does not require fancy schools or high paid teachers! Education ONLY requires the student to want to learn. Being hungry for an education produces great people as long as it is coupled with work ethic and hard work!

  21. Teachers get death threats and take bribes while students show up when they feel like it. Not much room for improvement under these conditions.

  22. I wouldn't say private is the best way. Eventually families will be priced out of a quality education. The student loan debt in the United States is a nightmare. Then again, The United States education system did begin as a for profit system, for wealthy families. Then leaders realized they needed more skilled workers that can read & count. This lead to education becoming a publicly taxed need for a stronger economy.

    The United States was once the best in the world for education, because it was tax funded and there was more access to educated individuals that were able to teach specific topics.

    Then enter today's corruption, defunding in communities of color. Then defunding in poor communities in general. Now it's a mess.

    This privatized way appears to be a good jumping pad. If they can avoid heavily corrupt practices that can hinder a populous from a strong education; they will have a prosperous future for their countries.

  23. Yeah. Unions inevitably become corrupt and serve only the union itself.
    And yes, Investments are always better than handouts, with exception to those who are in such absolute dire straits that they need life support.
    With handouts, you spend the money on food/clothes/whatever, and just feel good about yourself afterwards. With investments, you must ensure that the situation gets better and better so that you can actually turn a profit. And in turn, those investing in your same area must make competing improvements to draw your customers to themselves, which forces you to improve to get them back, in a winding spiral of self-actualization. Of course, that spiral only happens if there's sufficient competition (aka, access to the market isn't being artificially restricted, and the biggest player isn't allowed to simply body people out of the market).
    But the point remains. With handouts, your job is done once you've spent the money. With investments, spending the money is only the beginning of the job.

  24. there is nothing wrong with making a profit!
    as long as you creat value… cronny capitalisem is the issue not capitalisem…
    this is great… not perfect but great…

  25. Kinda of same thing is happening here in Brazil. People were too upset with the public services and how corruption raised in a tremendous level. So, basically the majority of people are willing to start a "privatization agenda". Some political parties here believe that we should give vouchers to the parents and they can decide which school they want to leave their kids. However, I don't see the Liberian model happens here. It'd be terrible for the State to do not have the control of the subjects the students are learning. What is actually happening here in the educational field is a huge change to "military schools".

  26. Strike "low cost" and substitute "USA" for Kenya, and basically the same issue, government schools and teachers want to get rid of private education.

  27. Hello there brother!
    Please don't get upset when I unsubscribe.
    When I unsubscribe from one person there is a connection and I have to subscribe again and I know your political party association with people in with and the President.

    No more student loans!
    No more slavery!
    Let my people go!

    Om Mani Pad Me Hum!
    ETN….

  28. Excellent, the future is in Africa. Colonizing countries in Africa was a challenge, Educate it will be even harder. Africans like luxury but don't like to work. So technology and the right motivation should do the thing.

  29. Hello there brother!
    You look like a Lex Luthor.

    Please understand transparency about TRUTH in Chinese history and ancestry of Chinese numbers.
    Chi is #7 in Chinese.
    #7 is about TRUTH in the 7th Chakra which is known as the Crown of Enlightenment.
    #7 also represent the rainbows in the spectrum of light through prisms.
    #7 is pronounced as Chi in Chinese which means air or breath.
    Chi Gung is Chinese Wushu for Breath Exercise,
    Breath in the light and exhale the darkness…
    #7 also represent rising and ascending to heaven in light to be #8 in unity in the sounds of Thunder.
    Om Mani Pad Me Hong!
    ETN….

  30. Hello there brother!
    Efficiency in education is key to understanding and forgiveness …
    News networks can educate the public on safety standards and we close the schools and Universities because we have a cellphone with the news networks educating the public masses.
    We can convert the current schools and Universities into homeless shelters and parks.
    Om Mani Pad Me Hum!
    ETN….

  31. Low-cost until they become high cost and the only option (as the already disastrous public education schools will be left as simple mere dining rooms or other non-educational but socially desperade needed band aids for some children's problems). Then you will have no education for most and medium quality for those who can pay with an always increasing rate on the cost. The thing is: it can not be very high as if too high, you simply go abroad, but comparativaly to the local economies, quite prohibitive. ANOTHER problem that happens on countries that implemet these models is that OF COURSE the best educated ones RARELY stay in the country to offer the results of such slightly better education. Therefore the END beneficiaries end up being OTHER COUNTRIES that have educated people whom, while being foreigners, they demand way less wages that the local educated professionals.

  32. Geez private schools performing better than public schools that’s not just an African issue I think that’s a worldwide issue surprise surprise

  33. The "Escuela Moderna" movement based on the Ferrer's ideas more then a century ago achieved really good results as well, until the Spanish government and church decided the should not be allowed to exist.

  34. “Investments are better than mere handouts” lmao how about you actually reform. terrain and fire teachers and do a new curriculum. Also what hand outs??? Clearly the kids ant seeing hand outs lmao bro you guys can be so trash sometimes

  35. In India and in the state of Tamilnadu we give free public education to all the students till high school along with free transportation books bags and even laptops.. And we clear a high level of students in high school so that they can have good opportunities

  36. what a so interesting video, but keep doing videos about companies and economy politics please and by the way you are very good doing videos, keep that way

  37. The profit motive is fundamentally evil, meaning it harms the many for the benefit of the few, and corrupts everything it touches. Private education should be banned below the college level, everywhere. All education systems should be like Finland's.

  38. Low cost sheepherding for profit NEO-LIBERAL/NEO COLONIAL (UN, NGOs, Lucis Trust SATANIC) programming.
    Youth indoctrination, included in this global curriculum probably gender divise nonsense and climate-hoax-money-making-machinery.(which will tax the poor 'developing countries' for the pollution of the rich west, in the coming generations).
    Africans should not envy their oppressors, for its the way they shall be oppressed continuously after.

  39. The USAmerican system is equally as bad?
    Getting suitable licences for teachers is good too, as making the one my university offers international requires as little as 6 months abroad it seems quite possible.

  40. Did anyone else click on this video because the man on the video thumbnail looks like a reformed politician version of DMX?

  41. This channel's content on Africa is usually really shallow and underwhelming.
    This video for instance leaves viewers who have little knowledge of a country like Kenya with the impression that a single organization like Bridge international is one of a kind in the country while really its not. Its no where near the first nor does it even make 1% of the total private schools in Kenya owned by Kenyans.
    Private schools in Kenya have a long history, close to a century. Starting from the period when the invader's government DID NOT WANT modern schooling for anyone African, parallel private schools where created.
    The irony of this video is how Simon presents Bridge(which I never heard of as a Kenyan till now) as the 'game changer', and ignoring everything else. For someone who knows and understands the reality, its like someone focusing a camera lens on a glass of water on the foreground the whole time while ignoring the massive lake already created in the background.
    And Kenya's literacy is high, but that isn't the main precursor to growth but rather inspiration in my opinion.
    Anyway, the music is always playing even when you aren't listening Simon. Don't get out of synch.

  42. I studied in kenya, Private primary schools are a better than public schools. They come in a wide range from cost to model. Public highschools and universities are alot better though..

  43. Thanks for touching on my country Kenya. I faced the some challenges when I was studying. The government should give up on controlling education

  44. But why should this be best solution for a poor country? Why building doubled infrastructure instead of one good one? Where do they get better teachers? Why not giving consultancy services to the government and authorities instead and build up a QM? One answer: profit.

  45. Oh look, another school union trying to equalize education even if that means reducing the quality of the education.

  46. It's rarely spoken of but the foundation of Soviet Union was education. In 1920s the illiteracy was eliminated, then a whole network of libraries, colleges and universities was opened across the country. This became a foundation for the first man in cosmos and other achievements, therefore, poor or no education and you're in a deep trouble

  47. Why am I not surprised, another situation where private entrepreneurs performed better than governments. Market forces are the best way to ensure quality.

  48. As other Kenyans have rightly pointed out bridge occupies a very small percentage of a certain niche of education… Their experience in Kenya should not be equated to the general trend in the whole country … As anywhere the challenge of education is multifaceted and as diverse as each of the 50 million Kenyans … Much as you have used bridge as a case study they affect very little of the education in the country so its abit different throughout the country some public schools in fact do offer better quality education than private

  49. African countries have all the money they need to have 1st world education. All they need is to get rid of western corporations that corrupt their governments and extract all their natural resources. They need the developed countries to help ending fiscal paradises so that all the wealth from African countries are not stolen from their people and sent to these fiscal paradises. That is what Africa needs.

  50. Give man a fish and he'll be fed for a day. Give man a fisherman position without proper oversight and he'll be fake fishing for the rest of his life.

  51. Please do the same theme video on india we also have problems of poor education and teachers with no knowledge to give.

  52. Kenya's mistrust emerges from a perverse combination of greed, pseudo-nationalism and ineptitude. The Govt doesn't like it because it can't control it, the teachers don't like it because it makes them look corrupt and inefficient and some people don't like it out of their feelings of pseudo-nationalism.

    At the end of the day Kenya is irredeemably fucked. It has no idea what it wants, has a president and cabinet that openly disparage higher education and is rapidly sinking into unpayable debt. LOL

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