Meet a Low-Fee Private School Proprietor: David Boakye
In 2013, the University of Salford in Manchester, along with the architects at Nightingale and Associates, completed and released the results of a year-long pilot study that showed significant relevance between a well-designed learning environment and a student’s ability to reach their highest academic achievement. Things like layout, color, natural light, temperature, and even air quality all could potentially play a part in the success of a student – which isn’t that surprising. But an important question to ask is, what classrooms are the readers thinking about? The ones they attended at public school? Maybe the ones their children attend at a private Montessori school? What about ones in rural Ghana?
Classrooms in developing nations are lacking adequate infrastructure, electricity, toilets, tables, and chairs – all essential things that impact how well instructors teach, and learners learn. Here at the Rising Schools Program (RSP) we are making great strides in strengthening and supporting the growing low-cost private school sector in Ghana, where 97% of loans are used for infrastructure improvements, land purchase, and vehicle acquisition or repair.
David is one of our proprietors in Ghana, and he owns and oversees the Ultimate Prep School in the rural community of Chiraa, in the Brong Ahafo Region. In 2009 David was in need of financial support to expand and build the school he had envisioned for his students. Through our microfinance partner, Sinapi Aba Trust, David began the process of obtaining a low-interest loan in order to secure a parcel of land that would accommodate a four-block classroom and a temporal pavilion of four classes. Additionally, Ultimate Prep was in need of reliable transportation to ensure students would be able to continue their education, since the parcel of land chosen was quite far from where many students lived.
Taking out a loan through the Rising Schools Program increased David’s effectiveness in his ability to lead his staff, manage the state of the school, strengthen the community, handle repayments responsibly, and even open a savings account through Sinapi Aba Savings and Loan. This is all part of the plan, as any proprietor who wishes to take out a loan with the Rising Schools Program is given extensive training in financial literacy and school management, creating sustainable change and the ability to prioritize for the future.
In 2011, Ultimate Prep had an enrollment of 300 pupils officially registered with the Ghana Education Service. They plan on continuing to improve the infrastructure to support their increasing enrollment, which includes adding a male and female toilet, and focus on creating the best learning environment possible for students to achieve their highest potential.
· 1 Rosenfield, Karissa.”Study Proves Design Significantly Impacts Learning” 03 Jan 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 12 Aug 2014. http://www.archdaily.com/?p=313736