CEO Today Business Women of the Year Awards 72 CEO Today Business Women of the Year Awards 2018 KENYA KEN- YA DR. SHANNON MAY Co-Founder of Bridge International Academies FIRM PROFILE Bridge International Academies (Bridge) believes that every child has the right to high quality education and partners with governments, communities, teachers and parents to deliver transformational learning. It is committed to helping achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4: to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. By providing a life-changing education to children in underserved communities Bridge helps put children, their families and their countries on a stronger development path. It believes that education is one of the most effective ways to end the cycle of poverty; enabling growth and prosperity; it reduces conflict, enhances stability and strengthens nations. The Bridge model disrupts the status quo, by delivering education reform through innovative solutions. It believes that action needs to be taken now to ensure that another generation of children are not failed. Education is in crisis in many countries around the world. It is estimated that 264 million children and young people are out of school, and 330 million children are in school but not learning. In addition, an extra 69 million teachers are needed to achieve the 2030 UN education goals. For decades there has been a focus on school access rather than learning outcomes; but at Bridge decisions are based on learning gains. Bridge’s data driven and evidence based approach adapts to the needs of individual governments. In countries such as Kenya, Bridge runs affordable schools; whereas in Liberia it’s part of a public private partnership, In Nigeria there are partnership schools and in Andhra Pradesh — eastern India — they have an infrastructure partnership. The social enterprise is flexible whenever it can serve more marginalised communities and improve learning outcomes for children. By demonstrating that high-performing schools are possible even on a developing country’s limited budget, Bridge has enabled governments and others to make informed financial decisions on how to improve learning sustainably and at scale. Bridge has made learning a science and develops world-class lesson plans based on host country curricula. Helping teachers to excel is at the heart of the Bridge model and it leverages in-depth teacher training and support programmes enabling impressive academic results. Bridge students have far outperformed their peers in national tests and exams across multiple years and countries. In Kenya, for the third year running, Bridge graduates outperformed their peers, in 2017 by 10 percentage points. In Uganda 100% of Bridge pupils passed the end of primary school exam with over 93% of pupils scored in the top two divisions compared to 56% nationally. In West Africa, Bridge Partnership Schools for Liberia pupils learned twice as much as their peers in neighboring government schools. Bridge is confident that these trends of improved learning will continue in countries where there pupils have yet to sit the national exams. Effectively tackling the learning crisis requires committed partnership from NGO’s; social enterprises; investors and Governments alike. Bridge and Dr. May are always looking for new partners and approaches to help deliver their mission. ABOUT DR. SHANNON MAY Dr. Shannon May is the Co-Founder of Bridge International Academies, the largest network of affordable tech-enabled primary and nursery schools in Africa and India. Bridge’s mission is to give millions of children a life-changing education; to date the social enterprise has served over 300,000 children across nearly 600 schools in communities living on under $2 a day. In 2018, Bridge was named as one of the top ten employers in Africa. Prior to founding Bridge with Jay Kimmelman, Dr. May published widely on ecological and economic development, and served as an advisor to many international organizations. Her experience also extends to the classroom, having taught in primary, middle, and secondary schools in both China and the US, as well as in the university lecture halls of the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. May is a fluent mandarin speaker and received her B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Social Studies from Harvard University, and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. |

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