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Case 1 : Bridge International Academy

Case Discussion 1 : Bridge International Academy
Bridge International Academies
© Hyun Shin, Hanyang University

Do you think it is important to provide education to underprivileged children in developing countries?

Then you might support the idea of building a new school in a poor area of, say, Kenya.

But what if you don’t have enough teachers who will teach at the nice new school building? What if you hire teachers, but they do not show up to class regularly, or they do not grade homework assignments properly? If that’s what was going to happen, it seems pointless to spend lots of money on a new school.

A tech start-up called Bridge International Academies aimed to tackle issues like these, and to provide affordable, high-quality education for children from poor families in Africa, with the help of IT. The company wanted to reach 1 million children and create over 30 thousand teaching jobs within 10 years. Their idea received lots of attention, and attracted money from international donor institutions such as the World Bank and DFID. Individual philanthropists such as Mark Zuckerberg also put money into the start-up.

However, as Bridge International Academies undertook its work, it came in for heavy criticism. In some cases, its schools were even ordered to close by local governments. What happened?

Please read the related articles and post your thoughts in the comments box. In particular, please think about the pros and cons of the approaches adopted by Bridge International Academies.

© Hyun Shin, Hanyang University
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