Education empowers individuals to chase their life’s ambitions. Unfortunately, not everybody has access to that opportunity. In Afghanistan, for instance, girls have long been banned from attending schools. Activists like Malala Yousafzai continue to demand the Taliban to recognize young girls’ right to an education. And around the world, many other barriers keep students from accessing education, including income, location, and support from parents.
Fortunately, for every barrier limiting educational access, there are organizations fighting to provide it. Below, we dive into a few examples of the heroes shaping the current fight for educational equality.
Bridge International Academies
The for-profit organization Bridge International Academies (BIA) is revolutionizing accessible education in Africa. Operating in Kenya, Uganda, Andhra Pradesh, and Nigeria, BIA aims to provide affordable education to students from remote areas. In these places, many parents make as little as 2 USD a day, limiting their ability to invest in their children’s education. Thanks to Bridge, which only charges low tuition and offers scholarships to a vast majority of their students, these parents are able to send their children to school without risking financial difficulties.
Instructors at Bridge use e-readers that contain lesson plans written by American charter school teachers. The education Bridge provides has since improved learning results in the areas they serve, with Bridge students scoring higher on national exams than their peers. In the 2019 Kenya Certificate Education exam, the average Bridge student scored 31 points higher than their peers. Their mathematics and reading scores were also two times higher than the scores of other test-takers.
Thinkful Coding Bootcamp
The world’s growing reliance on the digital sphere has propelled the demand for professionals with technology-related skills. However, due to lack of interest, the number of available tech jobs currently outnumber qualified workers. An article in Relocate Magazine shows that experts predict that by 2030, the world will experience a tech worker shortage of 85 million. Fortunately, programs like Chegg’s Thinkful Coding Bootcamp are creating new ways to get workers attracted to computer science jobs.
The Thinkful Coding Bootcamp is a set of online short courses that can teach students a variety of tech-related skills, including software engineering, data science, and even digital marketing. These courses can last from three to six months and give students access to tools like one-on-one mentoring and career planning. Perhaps the biggest selling point of the Thinkful Coding Bootcamp is its cost. Thinkful provides many low-cost payment options, including loans and grants. The most notable of which is its deferred tuition plan, which allows students to delay their payment tuition until they have secured a career in their chosen tech field.
Dream Girl Foundation
The widespread problem of educational accessibility in India was something that Harish Kuram wanted to correct. Consequently, he started the Dream Girl Foundation, a non-profit organization that scouts children from underdeveloped areas and offers them free elementary education. Once these students complete the organization’s curriculum, they are sent to government schools.
Since Kuram notes that the lack of family support plays a major role in keeping children from school, the Dream Girl Foundation counsels parents and enlightens them on how an education can help their children. The organization even hosts events that expose children to the many career tracks they can pursue once they’ve graduated, such as Baking for Smiles for the culinary arts.
It’s often people in unfortunate circumstances that have little access to education, and their lack of education only keeps them from becoming successful in life. Thanks to entities like Bridge International Academies, the Thinkful Coding Bootcamp, and Dream Girl Foundation, more people can access the opportunities that had long been closed to them.