for-profit schools in Africa

Further to last week’s post on Liberia’s for-profit schools, today’s Financial Times contains a letter to the editor from a British educator working in Uganda. The writer of the letter, Adam Nichols, is a strong proponent of private schooling in Africa.

Sir, Liberia‚Äôs school outsourcing experiment is indeed a bold move …. But … large-scale market innovation in education is already being delivered by indigenous for-profit school businesses, many of which have been operating successfully across Africa, Asia and South America for decades, without the support of international donors or government subsidy.

Here in Kampala, 84 per cent of children are taught in low-cost private schools, with a recent study suggesting there were over 400 such centres of learning around the city. Schole is supporting local school operators across east Africa to bring international best practice into the classroom, and brokering multimillion dollar private investment to enable successful businesses to scale.

Governments in developing countries will never be able to meet the spiralling demand for and costs of education on their own. By supporting homegrown entrepreneurs, we can ensure that high quality education is accessible for all.

Adam Nichols, “Providing education without donors or subsidy“, letter to the editor, Financial Times, 29 April 2017 (gated paywall).

Mr Nichols is the British Founder and Managing Director of Schole in Kampala, Uganda. Schole is Registered as Schole Education Ltd. in England. According to their web page, the company currently operates three schools: Crested Crane Academy and Pestalozzi Education Centre in Lusaka, Zambia in addition to Kisubi High School, a boarding school in Kampala.

These Schole ventures are “for-profit”, but run by people like Mr Nichols rather than “homegrown” or “indigenous” entrepreneurs. Curiously, the Kisubi High School web page provides no list of faculty, but does boast that the institution has a “School Development Director from the UK bringing the best of international school practices”. No names are provided for any staff of the school, not even the School Development Director.

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