Primary Education is Critical for Growth

For the last six months, I have been working for a chain of low-cost private primary schools serving low-income and slum communities.  The business model is innovative – by standardizing as much of the practice of building and operating a school as possible, Bridge has essentially created a “school in Read more…

Development Economics

The Challenges for Public Education in Ghana

For my last three weeks in Ghana, I have been, in the words of my brother Kwesi, absolutely chilling out and taking in as much of what this great country has to offer before I leave.  One of those incredible places was Cape Coast and Elmina, two towns a few kilometers apart in the Central Region of Ghana, where much of the citrus production takes place.  Both are beautiful towns.  On his first trip to Africa, Obama came here to speak.  The economies revolve around fishing, and fishing towns, in my experience, tend to have a pleasant atmosphere.  Cape Coast and Elmina are no exception, though they have a notorious and checkered past.   They are home to the notorious slave castles that, for hundreds of years, functioned as the last stop for African slaves before boarding the slave ships for Europe and the Americas.  The brutality with which the slaves were treated and the conditions in which they were kept is appalling.  It is hard to believe that human beings could treat one another in such a despicable way.  It is an important time in history to understand and to never forget. When I wasn’t seeing the castles, I was either relaxing at my guesthouse, the Stumble Inn, on the beach or wandering around the town, taking in the fishing town atmosphere and digging on the vibes.  The guesthouse, a diamond in the rough with cheap rooms and an island feel, is affiliated with a charity that fields short-term volunteers from Europe and the States to work at a local primary and junior secondary school nearby.  A British girl arrived the same time as me, and I decided to go along with her one day and volunteer at the school to get a better understanding of the state of public education system in Ghana, and also to mess around with some little kids. (more…)