Education That Pays For Itself

What's the big idea?

  1. Learning for Earning: Schools that provide a practical & business education allow young people to lift themselves out of poverty.
  2. Financially Sustainable Institutions. Schools can be financially self-sufficient without charging fees or having to rely on the government if they pay for themselves through teaching entrepreneurship within real school-owned businesses that generate real profits

Schools for success

Most young people in poorer countries end up working for themselves, but mostly they're never taught how to succeed in business. Teach A Man To Fish Schools, however, equip young people for life - transforming the vulnerable and undervalued into self-confident graduates who are able to support themselves and their families.

In a way we're really getting schools to act as business incubators, inspiring young people from poor backgrounds to become successful entrepreneurs. At the same time we are helping schools fund improvements to their educational facilities, and lower fees in the process.

How does it work?

Alongside traditional academic subjects, our schools teach business & practical skills through running their own profit-making businesses. These school enterprises - from beekeeping to carpentry workshops - earn the schools money, which covers facilities and teaching costs. More importantly these businesses act as a platform for students to develop entrepreneurial & practical skills. So when they graduate, they leave school empowered; ready to succeed in self-employment, in further education, and in life.

It's a 'win – win' strategy

The real magic of this approach is that school enterprises offer a valuable feedback mechanism to ensure that the education provided is high quality and relevant. Teachers must constantly update their practices to keep pace with the market, which means students leave with the skills in demand today, and not yesterday.

Greater school resources mean better paid and more motivated teachers. Along with performance incentives based on students' academic results, the end result is consistently higher quality teaching.

To find out more, read about the model of Financially Sustainable Schools.


The problem: poverty

  • We live in an age where millions of people in developing countries have to survive on less than 2 dollars a day
  • Poverty means that over 121 million children are out of education worldwide
  • Only half of children in developing countries attend secondary school. In sub-Saharan Africa it’s only a quarter.

It is a circle of chronical poverty. Young people don’t go to schools because their families can’t afford paying fees. In the future they don’t have the skills to help themselves, so they become poor adults. And they can’t afford paying fees for their kids schools.

The solution: education

Education is a powerful tool for generating jobs, improving incomes, and expanding the opportunities available to young people in developing countries. It’s simply the best way out of poverty!

The problem, however, is not only with lack of access to education for the poor. It is also the question of quality and relevance of education. For example, the majority of people living in extreme poverty rely on agriculture to make a living - and yet so few developing country education systems offer practical agricultural education at school level.  Where it is taught, it's often from an academic perspective, i.e. how plants grow, rather than from a livelihood perspective, i.e. how to make money from farming.

The challenge: funding

If developing country governments had sufficient funds to provide a first-rate education for all those who wanted it poverty would be far rarer. The reality is that while governments continue to struggle to fund basic education – as must be their priority – the vitally important area of vocational education remains significantly under-funded. Confronting the immense challenges of global education today requires more than huge scale financial commitments - it requires solutions that are both scaleable and financially sustainable.

These questions demand practical answers:

  • In fragile post-conflict states, if we build the schools today, who will pay for their upkeep tomorrow?
  • For the most vulnerable, from HIV orphans to child laborers, how can we make school accessible & relevant to their needs?
  • Where girls' education is seen as less valuable, how can we empower them to realize their full worth?

Our answer is Education That Pays For Itself - an approach we have developed which is uniquely fitted to addressing these issues. It is an approach which is capable of benefiting millions. Our commitment is to making this happen. Our commitment is to start kicking the revolution in education in developing countries!

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