What Happens When You Mix Sustainable Innovation with Limited Access to Education?
When Eric Ansah Yirenki of Good News International School enrolled in the IDPRS Program, he was trying to figure out how he could increase the number of students able to obtain an education, while also increasing income to ensure teachers were paid on time and in full.
The 2008 Education Act (Act 778) made provisions for free and compulsory basic education, as well as private participation in the provision of education at all levels. As a result, we saw an increase in the rise in the number of low-cost private schools across Ghana in order to support the rapid influx of students attending school and ensure full implementation of the policy. The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy at the time, suggested that reaching children in rural deprived areas will require more innovative approaches that take into account the harsh environments in which these families live, as the government’s reach was very limited in these areas.
The Rising Schools Program (RSP) works with a number of proprietors, who enroll into our program to gain access to capital in a sustainable way, so they can best serve rural and deprived districts. The goal of our training is not only to ensure stability of these low-cost private schools through proper management, but also to equip proprietors with skills to overcome additional adversity when faced with difficult school management decisions. What works for one school may not work for another, so our microfinance partner Sinapi Aba Trust enables school owners to best decide, based on their community structure, what kind of school collection fees they should be applying to their process, as well as how to best generate additional income.
When Eric Ansah Yirenki of Good News International School enrolled in the program, he was trying to figure out how he could increase the number of students able to obtain an education, while also increasing income to ensure teachers were paid on time and in full. Located in the deprived district of Asawinso Wiawso, Eric decided it would be best if he made the tuition free for the nursery school, in order to increase enrollment, and raise canteen fees to 1 cedi a day. Parents in his community were more likely to pay for a nutritional meal for their child than they were to pay their term fees on time. By doing this, he increased his student population from 150 to 400 students, and has been able to maintain financial stability through the generation of a more reliable financial stream. Eric is now able to pay his teachers’ salaries on time, and feels confident knowing that Good News International School can sustainably educate hundreds of students for years to come. Eric is now looking at ways to provide additional training to his teachers and staff, in order to increase the quality of education the children in his school receive.