The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, invested in Bridge International Academies Kenya to help fund the growth of quality primary and pre-primary education in the African nation. The Bridge Kenya IFC partnership helps provide quality low-cost education at foundation level to children in the country, focusing on delivering a proven quality of learning that has been shown to improve education outcomes.
Improving the quality of education is part of the Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations, which were implemented in 2015. These replaced the former 2000 Millennium Development Goals, which focused more on increasing enrolment numbers.
Between the launch of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000 and the updated Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, net enrolment in education in sub-Saharan Africa increased by approximately 20%. While this is an achievement, the focus has now shifted to improving the quality of the education children receive. While there are more children attending school than ever before, many of these children are not progressing at a satisfactory rate.
Data from 2011 showed that only three in every ten children in their third year of education in Kenya were able to do second-year work. Parents expressed dissatisfaction with these results and in the volume of extraneous costs associated with sending children to ostensibly free public schools. These costs, which include fees for books, desks, and homework among other fees, are being charged to some of the poorest communities in the world.
Bridge International Academies Kenya delivers foundation education on a low-cost private basis, often through community schools ideally placed to serve those children who might otherwise have the least opportunity of accessing quality education. Bridge Kenya is a UN Global Compact participant and partner in the pursuit of the objectives behind the SDGs.
Bridge International Academies Kenya began with just two schools in 2009. Since that time, the Bridge IFC partnership, and its parent company, has helped to expand this type of education throughout Kenya, and to Nigeria, Uganda, Liberia and India, using a range of community school programmes and government partnerships.
Bridge started in Kenya as this was the country that ranked highest based on several factors assessing the need for better quality education. These factors included poverty rates, population density, language, exam pass rates, and demand for private schooling.