1/4/13

 

My family and I are on our way home from visiting my parents and sister in Kenya, which, if you haven’t been, is a MUST visit. It’s an incredibly beautiful, exotic, welcoming country. If you or anyone you know is interested in coming, just email me at WTilson at tilsonfunds.com and I can connect you/them with my parents, who are happy to provide advice and referrals. Pictures from our trip in December 2012 are at:

                     Nairobi: https://picasaweb.google.com/WTilson/Nairobi1212?authkey=Gv1sRgCNPMypqG9POUqAE

                     Kibera: https://picasaweb.google.com/WTilson/Kibera02

                     Safari in the Masai Mara: https://picasaweb.google.com/WTilson/SafariInTheMasaiMara1212?authkey=Gv1sRgCLmh8fjigqmgOg

                     Lamu: https://picasaweb.google.com/WTilson/Lamu1212?authkey=Gv1sRgCMC0p-2-tJLYDg

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TRIPLE STOP THE PRESSES! In 1989, I discovered Teach for America (and helped Wendy Kopp start it) before anyone had ever heard of it. In 1999, I discovered KIPP (and joined David Levin’s board shortly thereafter) before almost anyone had ever heard of it. This week I discovered Bridge International Academies (www.bridgeinternationalacademies.com), which nobody has heard of – but which I confidently predict will be as big and impactful as both of these incredible organizations. It’s by far the closest thing to a WORLDWIDE educational game changer that I’ve ever seen.

 

Bridge runs primary schools serving the poorest urban children in Kenya (from age 3 through grade 8). So what, you might say: hundreds of other organizations do as well. But Bridge is doing many things VERY differently and holds the promise of changing the way that 700 MILLION of the world’s poorest children are educated. And while Bridge will never operate in the U.S. or any other OECD country, there are many lessons for ALL schools and school systems.

 

By the way, Bridge is growing rapidly and hiring a ton of people, almost all based in Kenya – see www.bridgeinternationalacademies.com/Bridge_International_Academies/Careers.html for more info. In particular (and not listed on the site), Bridge is looking to hire a Chief Academic Officer (the description for this job and a number of other academic positions is posted at: www.tilsonfunds.com/Bridge/BridgeAcademicOpportunities.pdf). Bridge is also looking for a small number of Business Operations associates (description is on their website) which would be a great fit for super bright and passionate young business folks with a consulting/banking background.

 

So why am I so excited about Bridge? Let me count the ways (please sit down, because this is going to blow your mind):

 

1) It’s addressing one of the world’s biggest problems: the terribly inadequate educational system for the poorest of the poor (generally people living on less than $1/day).

 

2) It opened with one school exactly four years ago (the Kenyan school year is the calendar year) and this week open 50 (FIFTY!) new schools to reach a total of 135 schools – in only four years! And Bridge will open another 150 schools this year – that’s a new school every 2.5 DAYS! I have never seen ANY network of schools (or, come to think of it, any business of any type) grow at anything like this rate.

 

To open so many, the schools must be really tiny, right? No. The average school opens with 320 students from age 3 through grade 6 and rapidly grows to 1,000 students (almost all of whom live close by and walk to school).

 

By the end of this month, in four years from starting its first school, Bridge will be educating more than 45,000 students, and is the largest business of any type in Kenya by number of locations. It will scale to more than 75,000 pupils by the end of the year and by next year will be the largest network of schools in the WORLD by both number of schools and total students (stop and think about that for a second – it’s truly staggering). Its goal is to eventually serve TEN MILLION students, and is looking at Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and India as possible next countries for expansion.

 

3) You’ll never guess the average tuition per student per month. Keep in mind that this has to be affordable to people living on $1/day. Nope, lower. Lower… I hope you’re sitting down. The answer: $6 (SIX DOLLARS!) per student per month (not day, not week, but MONTH!), not including food (see #9 below).

 

4) Surely no school in the world can even come close to covering its costs at such a low price point, so foundations and/or governments must be providing a massive subsidy, right? Nope. Bridge is a FOR-PROFIT company – a genuine for-profit, not one of the new breed of pseudo-for-profits that, while often doing much social good, don’t come close to (and aren’t designed) to earn truly market rates of return. In contrast, Bridge, while founded by people who want to change the world, is achieving unit-level profitability in about a year and has attracted LARGE amounts of venture capital from brand-name investors who are SOLELY interested in financial returns, including NEA (the largest venture capital firm in the world, with $13 billion under management), media giant Pearson, Omidyar Network, Khosla Ventures, and Learn Capital.

 

5) Oh no, not another for-profit education company preying on poor people, providing an overpriced, dismal education! Well, it’s hard to call $6/month overpriced by any definition, but it’s a valid question what type of education Bridge can provide while spending so little.

 

The answer is a very basic, decent quality education. To be clear, nobody on this email list would ever send their child to a Bridge school. (There are plenty of exceptional (mostly British) private schools costing $10,000-$20,000 annually to serve the wealthy elite of Kenya – sound familiar???) But that’s not the right comparison. For Kenya’s poorest families, there are only two choices:

 

a) Public schools which, even if they’re available (there are only a half dozen serving the 1+ MILLION people in Kibera, for example), are truly horrific in most cases (certainly those serving the poorest children): no books, classes of 100+, four-hour school days, teachers with strong job protections so they’re often drunk or absent – you get the idea… And while supposedly free, in reality they’re not: they require uniforms, various fees, etc. that typically add up to at least $4/month.

 

Or:

 

b) Private schools, usually single-unit microenterprises run out of people’s homes, at prices averaging $10/month. They’re usually a bit better than the public schools – they have to be to get parents to pay more – but not much…

 

Relative to these two options, Bridge is an exceptionally better option, both in terms of cost (25% more than public schools and 40% less than private ones) and quality.

 

Bridge’s average class size at full capacity is 60 students, which isn’t bad for Kenya. And Bridge doesn’t scrimp on the school day: it’s 7:30am to 5:00pm weekdays plus half days on Saturday (almost identical to KIPP schools, though Bridge says it didn’t get this idea from KIPP). Talking to the founders, though, they sound just like KIPP: “There’s no substitute for a lot of extra hours and hard work.”

 

Consistent with this, Bridge’s schools are also open during half of each of the three months a year that Kenyan schools are not in session (the Kenyan school year is roughly three months on, one month off) for optional additional schooling (at the same price per day as regular school), and about 40% of students take advantage.

 

6) The curriculum is 100% standardized, aligned to Kenya’s national curriculum, and every teacher has a Nook with that day’s lessons, scripted down to every single word the teacher speaks every minute of the day. To be clear: if you were to pop into any classroom at any time of day on any day of the year, you would find the teacher doing the EXACT SAME lesson in EVERY ONE of Bridge’s 135 schools.

 

I’m sure many of you are gasping in horror that principals (called Academy Managers) and teachers are robbed of their ability to be creative, cater to the individual needs of particular classrooms or schools, etc. But remember the context: Kenya doesn’t have very many super-talented teachers or principals – and those it has are working at the elite private schools, which can afford to pay them good wages. A fully standardized curriculum, while robbing teachers of the ability to soar, also greatly reduces the chances that they crash and burn – which is 100x more likely in Kenya…

 

7) Given that attracting highly talented, motivated teachers is one of the biggest barriers to growth of school networks like KIPP, how has Bridge managed to hire, train and manage more than 1,400 teachers in such a short time? The answer is that it doesn’t hire people who have been trained or certified as teachers. Instead, nearly all of its teachers are secondary (high) school graduates who live within 500 meters of the school, most of whom are unemployed (the unemployment rate in Kenya is officially 40%, but as in the U.S. and elsewhere, that only counts people who are actively looking for work).

 

Bridge screens on the front end and then puts about 60% more teachers than it plans to hire into an intensive 240-hour training program, weeding out the ones who aren’t cutting it along the way (once they start on the job, turnover is less than 2% per month). Bridge provides ongoing training to existing teachers as well.

 

It’s a similar process for principals, who are given smartphones with software that helps them manage all aspects of the school.

 

The article below notes that: “A performance form is completed each week for every teacher, and teachers get a bonus or have pay docked based on an overall score. The same process governs compensation for school managers, giving them an economic stake in the school’s overall educational performance.”

 

Note that no money changes hands at the school level: all tuition is paid by bank deposit or a cell phone-based system called M-Pesa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-Pesa), teachers are paid via direct deposit, etc.

 

8) Academic results are preliminary right now, but according to Bridge, their students are testing 100% better on reading and 25% better in math relative to peer schools using international exams and external assessors. Here are some charts of student performance I got from them:

 

 

 

Note that every student at Bridge is tested every 8-10 days in all core subjects and all results are captured electronically and made available to the principal and headquarters, so every student, teacher, principal, and school can be tracked almost real time.

 

9) What about food? Don’t the children get hungry between 7:30am and 5:00pm? Yes, though keep in mind that these kids are (sadly) used to not eating regularly. Bridge gives students an option: they can bring their own food or contract directly with local entrepreneurs to provide a meal (with payment going directly from the student to the entrepreneur). This is quite inefficient, so Bridge is rolling out an exciting pilot program to provide children a healthy, nutritious lunch of corn (or ugali/cornmeal) and beans for only $5/student/month, which is about 25% cheaper than the price that they would pay otherwise (due to Bridge’s ability to buy and prepare food at large scale).

 

10) Those of you accustomed to the endless headaches related to facilities must be wondering how Bridge secures so many new facilities so quickly. With a lot of difficulty, to be sure, but they handle EVERYTHING internally, from market research, site identification, leasing (not buying) land, constructing the buildings from scratch, etc. Believe it or not, it takes Bridge less than five months from site identification to school opening, and the fixed costs for launching a new school (11 classrooms, 6 toilets, and a handful of other rooms for offices, food, etc.) are only $25,000 (not including land). Bridge then continues to build out each school as it grows. Bridge uses three basic architectural temples: approximately 70% a standard one-story structure, 20% a modified one-story structure for the hotter coast (coral bricks; straw mats on the roof to mitigate the heat), and 10% more expensive two-story structures in urban areas where land is more expensive.

 

Note that Bridge’s current model doesn’t work in very rural areas: a certain population density is required for the schools to achieve the critical mass necessary for profitability. But they have successfully opened in small towns with populations as low as 9,000 people.

 

11) School books are nonexistent at most schools in Kenya, so this is a major cost for most families (or students go without, which obviously impacts learning). Bridge provides necessary schoolbooks to every student as part of the regular tuition – the only thing students must provide is a pencil and a basic, blank, lined notebook.

 

Background on Bridge’s three founders is at: www.bridgeinternationalacademies.com/Bridge_International_Academies/About_Us.html. I met Jay Kimmelman and Shannon May this week (they were Harvard classmates, class of ’99, but didn’t know each other until they met at their 5th reunion). Jay’s email is Jay.Kimmelman at bridgeinternationalacademies.com.

 

There has been almost no press about Bridge yet, but below are an article from 3/11 and a recent interview Jay did.

 

Enjoy!

 

Whitney

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Bridge International Academies in Kenya: Quality schooling for less than $4 per day

Originally published by Pearson on 7 March 2011. Republished by AfricanBrains with kind permission.

http://africanbrains.net/2011/03/15/bridge-international-academies-in-kenya-quality-schooling-for-less-than-4-per-day

Goats graze by a riverbank next door and there’s a pungent smell of burning trash in the air, but the children at Bridge International Academy Lunga Lunga don’t even notice. They’re too entranced by a crossword lesson about parts of the body.

“Who can see the word ‘elbow’?” teacher David Kamau asks his students, and seven-year-old Hortensia, dressed in a beige sweater, earns huge cheers from her second-grade classmates by picking the word out from a big crossword puzzle posted on a wall chart.

“Who can see ‘tooth?’” the teacher then asks, and hands shoot up.

While Lunga Lunga’s lesson may not seem extraordinary, the school located in a poor industrial area of Nairobi – and the thinking behind it – most certainly is.

Constructed out of unfinished wood beams, corrugated steel and iron mesh for just $1,800 per classroom, the Lunga Lunga school is part of a network of 22 nearly identical schools established by Bridge International Academies, an organisation that provides quality primary schooling for less than $4 per month.

Pearson is a significant minority investor in Bridge, and views the Bridge model as having potential for providing low-cost schooling in other parts of the world as well.

“Children are taught well here,” says Zipporah Waithera, feeding her four-year-old son Duncan from a green plastic bowl during lunch break. “He knows how to write. He knows how to speak English – not fluently, but he can now speak English.”

Aim to open one new school per day by 2015

Just two years after the first school opened in January 2009, more than 2,700 students are now enrolled across the Kenyan capital.

“We went from zero to 10 schools in the first year, and aim to open 50 schools in 2011,” says Jay Kimmelman, co-founder of Bridge International. “In four or five years we aim to open one new school per day. This enterprise is based on scalability.”

Bridge schools go up fast. On average, a bell rings out for the first day of class just five months after Bridge staff identify land for a new school. The schools are basic: there is no electricity, a big plastic pot is used for purified drinking water, and a latrine on the grounds provides lavatory facilities. The roof of each classroom is double-steeped to provide natural ventilation.

The company now employs 200 people and plans to expand in the next few years to other African countries including Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria, and is also eyeing India.

For Pearson, the Bridge schools are part of recent moves expand its education business in Africa. Pearson in November 2010 announced that it was acquiring a majority stake in CTI Education Group, a South African higher education institution that serves 9,000 students on 12 campuses.

Other Bridge investors include charitable foundations, private individuals and Omidyar Network, a California-based philanthropic investment firm.

Model based on dense population, time spent in class

Bridge is based on very distinctive philosophies for both the economics of education in poor areas, and how students in these areas should be taught.

Bridge builds schools in very densely populated areas following extensive research into land availability and demographics. Bridge’s headquarters in Nairobi are packed with laminated maps and computer screens flashing satellite imagery of the city’s neighbourhoods, so the company’s staff can assess population density. Some Bridge schools are located less than 700 meters apart, and 90% of students live within 400 meters of their school.

Parents pay tuition by mobile phone transfer or by depositing money into a Bridge bank account, as the schools themselves are cashless. New schools break even financially after about 12 months.

The schools were initially built for grades K-3, and have now expanded to K-4. The land is bought with an eye to eventual expansion to grades K-8 at all schools, by building new classrooms onto the existing structures.

The company’s educational philosophy is based on ensuring that students are taught throughout the school day – a measurement it refers to as “time on task.” So students are at school from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with many also attending a half-day on Saturday. School managers – they’re not called “principals” – patrol to ensure that kids are taught right up to the closing bell of each class.

Scripted approach ensures consistency

The schools also feature a very structured approach in which all lessons are totally scripted – word by word, minute by minute. This allows even beginning teachers – following an eight-week training course – to follow the lessons and assess students regularly, and provides a consistent framework for Bridge administrators to evaluate teachers and schools.

The first-grade curriculum book, for example, includes Lesson 14.35.H – entitled “Use of ‘Who’.”

“Because everything is scripted you follow a routine, and the students know what to expect,” says Mr. Kamau, 22, who began teaching at Lunga Lunga in March 2010 after working at a flower exporting company. “When I started, even saying an English word was a struggle for the kids. Now it’s much better for them.”

A performance form is completed each week for every teacher, and teachers get a bonus or have pay docked based on an overall score. The same process governs compensation for school managers, giving them an economic stake in the school’s overall educational performance.

“If teachers underperform I take them aside, and if I don’t see improvement I do it again the next week,” says Patrick Ndege, the 40-year-old school manager at the Lunga Lunga school.

Idea originated during honeymoon research

Bridge International Academies stem from a couple of research projects conducted by Mr. Kimmelman, 33, a former educational software entrepreneur, and his wife Shannon May, 34, a cultural anthropologist, both Americans by birth.

They moved to northern China in 2005, near the Korean border, where they studied various sectors in which scalability can benefit the poor, including finance, agricultural economics and education, and decided they could make the most difference in schooling.

The couple then spent half their honeymoon examining primary schools in Africa, and quickly made a surprising discovery.

“We realized that every time we drove up to a school the kids all seemed to be at recess,” Mr. Kimmelman recalls. “Children were not learning because no one was teaching them, as half the teachers weren’t in school. Most of the private schools were sole proprietors, so there was no consistency.”

So Mr. Kimmelman and Ms. May, along with Bridge’s third co-founder Phil Frei, 35, a Swiss-Canadian, decided that Bridge would be based on kids being in class and taught throughout the lesson.

Lunch cooked up by local families, providing income

When he first took the school manager’s job, Mr. Ndege went door to door with flyers printed in Swahili to advertise the new school, but word-of-mouth has now taken over.

“Parents see a difference in their kids,” he says. “Now the parents know that kids learn here. We don’t have to do much marketing.” Enrollment at the Lunga Lunga school went from zero in January 2010, to 185 in October 2010, to 300 by February 2011.

At lunchtime, many students pay a small fee for lunches cooked up and brought to the school by families living nearby, which provides employment for the local community. The meal on a recent Friday was rice with cabbage, and many parents of Lunga Lunga students wander over to the school at lunchtime to eat with their children.

“The children are taught well,” says Risper Warwenu, whose four-year-old son Ephantus enrolled at the school last year. “He can now write in English. He could not write before.”

Asked if he likes school, her son shyly hides his face, then nods a big smile.

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www.africatalentbank.com/compinterviewbridgeintl

Company Interview

Mr Jay Kimmelman

Co-Founder and CEO, Bridge International Academies, Kenya 

Interview by Miriam Mukasa, founder and MD, AfricaTalentbank.com

Each month, we put a different organisation, under the spotlight. This month, we interview Mr Jay Kimmelman, the Harvard educated co-founder and CEO of Bridge International Academies - a chain of low cost private schools, offering high quality education using technology and local talent. Kenya is the first place where this business model has been tried.

 

Inside a Bridge International Academies class.

 BACKGROUND

Mr Jay Kimmelman is a successful entrepreneur and passionate advocate for issues related to global poverty. Prior to founding Bridge International Academies, Jay was founder and CEO of Edusoft, the leading educational software company providing assessment platforms to US public school districts. Jay led the company from inception in a San Francisco apartment to national success providing critical services to millions of students, forming groundbreaking partnerships, and establishing the company as the recognized leader in the market. Jay sold the 150-person, $20M revenue company to Boston-based publishing company Houghton Mifflin in 2003. At that time, Edusoft was serving more than 3 Million students in 400 school districts across the nation, including the second largest in the country.  Jay received his B.A. in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Harvard University

Mr Kimmelman, thank you for granting ATB News this interview. May I start by asking, how did Bridge International Academies (BIA) come about and why Kenya specifically?

Bridge International Academies was conceived in 2007 out of the belief that giving every child access to a high quality education would have the greatest impact on reducing poverty worldwide. With that guiding insight, Bridge International developed a strategy that would enable it to launch a large-scale network of high-quality, ultra low-cost, for-profit primary schools. Operating a network of schools supported by a strong central headquarter gives Bridge International the scale, experience, and capacity to invest in systems of management, support, training, and innovation that allows individual schools to dramatically increase their effectiveness. 

 

We started our operations in Kenya for the following reasons: Kenya is one of the leading countries in Africa driving innovation which in itself, is conducive to our business model succeeding; parents in Kenya were desperately looking for good quality education at affordable prices; the welcome climate that the country offers; Kenya's openness to new and innovative ideas; and of course, the friendliness of the Kenyan people.


Bridge International Academies Headquarter on Mombasa Road

So your schools specifically target the "bottom of the pyramid" sector of the population. Is this correct?
Yes. At Bridge International Academies, we believe that every child deserves a high-quality primary education regardless of parental income. In many developing countries, there is a large gap between current service provision and the needs of the population. Bridge fills this gap. We deliver high-quality primary education that is affordable in even the most impoverished communities. We believe that education is a bridge to a better future for every child, and that at Bridge International, every child can learn the knowledge and skills needed to improve the conditions of his or her own life, community, and nation.

How many schools do you currently operate?
We opened our first school in 2009 and to date, we have 83  Bridge International Academies spread across Kenya, serving 26,000 pupils in primary and pre-primary.  We are currently the largest chain of private schools in Africa (at any price point), and in the next year we will likely become the largest chain of private schools in the world.  Our target is to serve 10 Million pupils from around the globe.

Describe your business model and teaching methods.
I would describe the Bridge model as an "Academy-in-a-box", where we take technology and talent from the local community and enable them to very successfully operate an academy. Our teachers and academy managers are from the local community,  all operating our processes system using our training programmes, our tools, our monitoring, our curriculum, and our technology, and this is what enables us to do this at scale and efficiently and therefore cost effectively. The curriculum is similar to that found in other Kenyan schools and we use direct instructions to allow us to give better instruction in the classroom. We are now taking this a step further by actually putting devices in the classroom that not only have the instructional material but also give us the assessment scores and the attendance.

Lessons are fully scripted, word for word, based on the best research in the world and data collected from all over Kenya, so no matter where the child comes from, they are able to understand. Tuition is paid for using mPesa, with fees averaging Ksh 400 per month.


What were the major challenges that you faced in your business experiences and what are some of the things that, with the benefit of hindsight, you would have done differently?
Bridge International Academies is not just the largest chain of private schools in Africa, but in January 2013, will be the largest chain (in terms of locations), of any type of business in Kenya.  We are currently launching one new academy every 3 calendar days.  We’re completely vertically integrated, meaning we run everything from our own market research, real estate and construction operations, to technology, curriculum, recruiting, training and quality assurance.  Operating at such a scale and scope of business has been a challenge, and ensuring that all of these pieces seamlessly integrate is an enormous task.  We’ve grown from 3 to almost 1,200 employees in just four years, and there are a lot of inherent challenges in maintaining that kind of growth.  We’re continually challenged to find the very best talent in the country to join our Company and our mission.


What distinguishes BIA from its competitors?
While our curriculum follows the Kenyan system of education, there are a number of factors that differentiate us including:  

(1) Business Model - Namely our "Academy-in-a-box" business model, as mentioned above.

(2) Quality Education at affordable Prices - Bridge International Academies is able to profitably deliver high-quality education for 400 shillings per child, per month. This ensures our academies will continue to successfully serve local communities as long as parents value the educational service provided. 

(3) Scalability - Through rapid and strategic expansion, Bridge International expects to enroll over 10 million pupils across the globe in the coming years.

(4) Extensive use of technology  - Academy Managers run the entire academy operation on a custom-developed smartphone application connected in real time to our headquarters systems.  Instructional materials are delivered to thousands of teachers all over the country in real-time using customer developed tablet software in the hands of every teacher.  Data is continuously monitored to enable data-driven decision making at the academy and headquarters levels.

In addition, our pupils receive more individual attention, are offered lunch at school, our teachers are from the local community and so they live and work amongst the students and we also have performance metrics by which we assess teachers.

In terms of rolling out, are you looking to roll out BIA into neighbouring countries and beyond?

Yes we are looking to roll out into other African countries as well as around the world including India.  Global expansion is on the horizon for 2013, but the adventure begins here in Kenya!


GRADUATES

You are now looking for graduates for various positions at Bridge International Academies. Which vacancies are you looking to fill and what attributes are you looking for in your graduate recruits?  

Curriculum Authors – We’re looking for the best and brightest graduates with incredible writing (English) skills who are detailed, conscientious with experience or passion for education, to join our curriculum team.  These authors will work with top Kenyan and International educators to design education materials delivered at each of Bridge’s 135 academies, and write lessons that deliver world class education to children in some of the nation’s poorest communities.

Academy Improvement Managers – We’re also looking for a small number of dynamic, articulate and mature graduates to be responsible for managing and supervising an entire territory of Bridge International Academies.

Academy Improvement Managers work closely with a large group of Academies in a specific geography to ensure that the Academies are operating at the highest levels across operations, instruction and finance.   This role requires a constant presence at the Academies and close interaction with each Academy Manager, as well as Academy Teachers, to ensure that there is continuous bi-directional communication and coaching. Academy Improvement Managers completely own (and therefore are accountable for) the performance metrics of all of the Academies in their territory, as measured by financial, operational and instructional benchmarks.

Research Associates – We’re looking for talented, research-minded recent graduates to join our Market Research team which conducts research, provide critical analysis, insight, reports and data to the rest of the company on socio-economic conditions, competitive landscapes, plot-specific research and population density in all of our potential communities.  Research Associates are at the core of our data-driven, community-based approach to site selection and operations.  Experience in conducting field research in, or comfort with, slums and informal settlements is a plus!

Junior Software Engineer - We are looking for a bright Junior Software Engineer to work under the supervision of the Team Lead. His/her responsibilities will include: Designing, implementation and debugging of custom enterprise software to power and improve the efficiency of our rigorous processes at both our schools and headquarters, working closely with the Team Leader in order to understand the functional and system requirements, working closely with the QA team in the testing process through unit testing and bug fixes to ensure the quality of the systems being developed, supporting in-house users of our custom software and problem solving and providing second line support to end users of systems that have been deployed to support our business operations and integration of our custom systems with off the shelf software.

Other Job Openings – In the last 4 years, we’ve grown our company from 3 to almost 1,200 employees.  We’re hiring in a lot of areas, including Technology, Procurement, Construction, Supply Chain, Operations, Finance and more. We’re looking for the country’s top graduates to join one of the most exciting companies in Kenya!


Why should a bright, motivated graduate select a career at Bridge International Academies over an established multinational for example?
If you’re looking to join a company that has the potential to change the face of the globe by providing a world-class affordable education to those with few options, then this is the place for you.  If you’re looking for a fast-paced, dynamic environment, where the bar for quality is set extremely high, and where you will have tremendous learning opportunities, then you should join Bridge International Academies.  If you’re looking to experience what a truly fast-growing world-class startup backed by some of the largest investors in the world feels like, give us a call.  If you’re passionate about truly changing the future of Kenya and ultimately the world, then this is the right place for you. 


What advice would you give to a young person entering the workforce today?
For the most talented and brightest graduates, there are always a world of options and possibilities in terms of companies and careers.  My advice is to pick a company that gets you excited and where you are passionate about what they do, their product, service or contribution to the world.  Pick a company where after a few years, you can look back and be proud of your work.


GOING FORWARD 

What are your plans for 2013?
We are currently opening more than 10 academies per month and in January 2013 alone, we will open up an addition 50 new academies just in that month.  There’s a lot of tremendously interesting, difficult and exciting positions that we need to fill in order to make this happen! 

Any parting message to ATB Members?
Yes, we're hiring! Join us in giving all children access to a good quality education. We are always on the lookout for bright, motivated, candidates. We will also be giving presentations at various universities in Nairobi so look out for further details on the AfricaTalentbank.com Facebook page


TO APPLY FOR A JOB
To view and apply for current graduate jobs, please visit this link -
Bridge International Academies Graduate Jobs


OTHER USEFUL LINKS

1. Bridge International Academies Website

2. Bridge International Careers Page 

3. Bridging the Education Gap - KTN Primetime News (video)

4. Educating the Slums - NTV, This Morning (video)

5. Spark Africa - Education 'big business' in Kenyan slums