SIX YEARS AGO I spent the summer in a remote village in Ghana on my first major international trip. I worked in a local high school where I volunteered and researched attitudes towards reading and the British education system. I loved the kids. I loved the community. This was the experience that helped me decide to change my career trajectory and become a teacher at Teach For America.
Yet, for all the wonderful parts about my field work, it was hard as an anthropology student to sit and observe challenges in the school system I was powerless to change—corporal punishment, high fees, low reading engagement, sexual abuse, outdated instruction, and teachers who sometimes only showed up half of the time.
Granted, as an outsider I do not have much right to come in and say what is not working. There are forces at play I can never understand because of my privileged paradigm. We should always be skeptical of development work and the harmful impact it has had in the past despite good intentions. But I do know that education matters.
The USA has 15 million kids living below the poverty line, but the rest of the world has 700 million incredibly poor kids whose families live on less than two dollars a day. Bridge International Academies is one of the first major organizations to spearhead private, low-cost schools for these families in need who are forced into the “free” government primary schools.
I am thrilled to announce that I accepted a position at Bridge International Academies as a Global English Curriculum Director. I will be working on curriculum for their rigorous, affordable schools found in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and soon India, Liberia, and beyond. I’m excited to return to schools similar to the one I first worked in when I was in Ghana now that I have an actual skillset to give back.
Next week, you can find me in Lagos, Nigeria.