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Category: Education

What Do I Think of Education and Bridge International Academies? Pt. 1

What Do I Think of Education and Bridge International Academies? Pt. 1

After six months learning about agriculture in West Africa and working on a project whose objective was to improve the private sector, I decided to return to the private sector, since the public sector was not very good at making it any better.  I had interviewed with the Acumen Fund for its global fellowship in Nairobi six months prior.  I knew a few folks through my Kiva connections, and began networking for jobs there.  I cold-emailed a few, hit up…

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A Trip to Bridge International Academies

A Trip to Bridge International Academies

After one year living in Kenya, my time here is fast approaching its end.  In a few weeks, I finish work with Bridge International Academies.  I am heading to Southeast Asia for a few weeks of rest and relaxation before moving to San Francisco to help my brother launch a start-up for the summer.  After that, I am returning to school to pursue an MBA.  And so ends my two and a half years on the road.  This weekend, as…

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Stealing an Education in Fairfield County

Stealing an Education in Fairfield County

Today, I work for a company that is trying to establish a floor of education for every child in the world, regardless of income status.  Children should have access to a basic education, regardless of socioeconomic status.  And what motivates people at this company is the very real prospect of achieving just that.  We have 60 schools today.  In a year, we will have countless more.  If this experiment works, every child, no matter how poor, will have access to…

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A Tale of Two Education Systems: Finland & India

A Tale of Two Education Systems: Finland & India

Two interesting articles in the Atlantic and the New York Times highlight two very unique approaches to education. The first, “Many of India’s Poor Turn to Private Schools,” discusses the prevalence of private schooling at every socioeconomic level in urban and rural communities.  These private schools, many of which are low-cost and bare-bones, provide a comparable education to government schools and offer an English-language curriculum – something highly valued by the low-income populations who see English as a path to…

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Primary Education is Critical for Growth

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 a box.” This is my first experience working in education, so the learning curve, as always, has been steep.  But the world is complex and the systems that govern it…

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The Unintended Consequences of Female Empowerment

The Unintended Consequences of Female Empowerment

In social sciences, unintended consequences are outcomes that are different from those expected.  In development, unintended consequences are common, and often negative by nature. As a generalization, there are two approaches to development: top-down and bottom-up.  The top-down approach, favored by Jeffrey Sachs, calls for a prescriptive methodology – government-to-government aid, debt relief, and targeted interventions designed to reduce poverty and increase incomes.  The best example of the top-down approach in action is the Millenium Villages Project (read about it…

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How Does Corruption in the Education Sector Work?

How Does Corruption in the Education Sector Work?

“There’s this standing joke about corruption in Asia: In the Philippines, everything is under the table; in Vietnam, it’s over the table; in Indonesia, it’s including the table.” – The Manila Standard The Philippines is ranked 139th out of 180 on the Corruption Perceptions Index, registering a 2.3 out of 10 (with 10 being the best).  In 2007, it was the second-worst in East Asia, a few points behind the Indonesia.  My friends in the Philippines used to joke that…

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The Challenges for Public Education in Ghana

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…

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