Facebook, Microsoft Funding Bridge Startup To Revolutionize Education in Africa
Facebook, Microsoft, Barnes and Noble and other famous internet companies have joined hands to launch a massive education program that would eventually educate millions of poor children and students across Africa. The program is dubbed as Bridge International Academies. Bridge is based in Nairobi, Kenya and all the strategic partners are located in the US. The plan of Bridge is to monetize on education based startups in Africa in the long term.
Bridge Education system will revolutionize the education dynamics in Africa. In Bridge academies, teachers and students have free access to Nook Tablets provided by Barnes and Noble. They can plan, study, take notes and enjoy on these tablet. The classroom environments are being made purely based on tech and internet.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has invested $10 million in Bridge education program. Microsoft’s Bill Gates, e-Bay Inc. founder Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, Pearson, Barnes and other companies have jointly invested a $100 million in Bridge.
According to the statistics from the World Bank, education system in Kenya is deteriorating for years. A teacher in a Kenyan school spends only 2 hours on average of teaching. More than 45% of teachers are absent from schools. 27% of the present teachers come to the school but don’t conduct classes. Bridge teachers on the other hand, will spend more than 8 hours in smart teaching.
Bridge claims that it is striving to negate the notion that private education programs cannot work in Africa. It says that government based companies and programs have failed to deliver. Private investments from tech companies will enable Bridge to quickly boost the education quality in Africa and will open new jobs and investment opportunities.
Bridge estimates that its revenue will be around $500 million in next 10 years. It is also planning to get listed publically in the US stock exchange in 2017. A Bridge academy teacher’s pay is around $110, which is less than half as compared to government school teachers but the environment freedom and future opportunities are enough to attract young teachers.
Bridge charges a minimal cost to students for studying. Unlike free schools in Africa where the quality of education is declining, Bridge has smaller class sizes, state of the art learning environment and internet education.