Bridge International Academies (Kenya/Nigeria/Uganda) Community School Network Supports Quality Education Provision in Underserved Areas

Bridge International Academies has had a presence in Africa since opening its first community school in 2009. The mission behind Bridge is equal access to high quality education for all. The Bridge network runs community schools in those areas of the world that are the most underserved in terms of educational provision. The Bridge model is designed to reach the most marginalised communities and work within those communities to improve learning outcomes for all pupils, regardless of their socioeconomic background.

This equal education for all approach has been proven to work. Numerous national exams (KCPE, PLE and CEE) taken by pupils in community schools since 2015 have shown that Bridge pupils consistently outperform their peers. In 2019, pupils who had been at Bridge Kenya for five years or more scored 31 marks higher on average than pupils nationally in the KCPE, a difference of 0.41 standard deviations, equivalent to almost two years of additional schooling. A white paper published in 2015 demonstrated that children attending Bridge schools were achieving gains in reading and mathematics that were two to three times higher than those being achieved by their peers attending public schools.

A further study commissioned by the Department for International Development in the UK found that Bridge community schools delivered equity of education irrespective of background. While state and private schools elsewhere had a marked difference between results for children from poorer and better socioeconomic backgrounds, students at Bridge schools were shown to receive an equal education regardless of their family and financial circumstances.

The work of Bridge’s (Kenya/Nigeria/Uganda) community school programmes has attracted several high-profile investors such as the World Bank’s IFC, particularly those known for promoting education as a key driver for lifting the poorest people in the world out of poverty. Through social impact investors Bridge has attracted more than $140 million in funding. This funding has helped to drive education transformation and improve outcomes in areas where state school provision is inadequate, and support teachers in existing schools to provide a higher standard of education. The World Bank Group President has praised Bridge as an example of an organisation ‘using new technology to transform education outcomes.’

The work of Bridge International Academies (Kenya/Nigeria/Uganda) community schools positively impacts the lives and future opportunities for millions of children and their families. This has been recognised by the IFC, which recognises Bridge as an innovator with effective education programmes and use of technology, and the World Bank 2016 study, which highlights Bridge as a strong example of digitally enabled teacher management.