Gates, Zuckerberg Funded Low-Cost Private Schools Halt Expansion In Kenya

Gates, Zuckerberg Funded Low-Cost Private Schools Halt Expansion In Kenya

Bridge International Academies, a firm operating low-cost private schools in Africa and Asia has frozen its expansion plan in Kenya, where it started the venture, after the government ordered all informal learning institutions not to set up new centers until a new law is in place.

Bridge, which is partly funded by the world richest-man Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, has been forced to put its plans, to increase its Kenyan schools by 100 this year, on ice until the matter is resolved.

It currently runs 405 nursery and primary schools in the east African nation with about 100,000 pupils.

Founded in 2007 by Jay Kimmelman, Shannon May and Phil Frei, Bridge International operates a franchise-like network of low-cost primary school in urban slums and rural areas and seek to provide  affordable quality education for poor families in developed countries.

It opened its first school in Kenya in 2009 and has expanded the model to Uganda, Nigeria and India.

The company, which got a $10 million capital injection from World Bank’s investment arm the International Finance Corporation in 2014, targets to operate over 3,300 schools in Kenya by 2018, serving close to 2.5 million students with its break-even point at about 1 million pupils.

This plans however face serious setbacks if the law changes in Kenya, which were first drafted in 2009 and never got finalized, turn out to be adverse to the schools operations.

Parents, who pay about $6 dollars per month through mobile money to keep their kids in school, are getting jittery over the future of Bridge schools after the government “asked that no more schools be opened until new regulations are released,” Kimmelmann told Business Daily.

“Many parents across the country have been nervous about coming to Bridge, given that the ministry still hasn’t released the regulations.”