Urban Education

We're committed to helping underserved students improve academic performance and increasing access to quality education.   Scroll

Over the last 30 years in public education, the needle on student performance has barely budged. Why? It’s not for lack of care or effort. Educators and administrators believe deeply in the principle that each child deserves a quality education, and devote countless hours to that goal. But the complexity of delivering results—year to year, classroom to classroom and district to district—is enormous. And objectively measuring and analyzing what works—what helps kids learn, teachers teach and schools excel—can seem almost impossible.

It’s no secret that there’s an achievement gap among students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. To close this gap, improve student performance and increase graduation rates among these students, we’re focused on growing programs that focus on enabling data-driven education and access to high-quality public schools

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Despite significant government spending and charitable investments to reform South Africa’s public school system since the end of apartheid, overall student performance has declined. The traditional South African education system offers limited quality options for learners from poor communities and unequal access to quality instruction is reflected in learner results: only one of 18 learners ends up with a post-high school qualification.

We passionately believe many of these problems can be overcome. That’s why, in close partnership with the Department of Basic Education, we focus our resources on helping improve the outcomes of the basic education system by improving the availability, quality and timeliness of education data. We’re also continuing our long-standing collective effort with local and international funders and local governments to create the demand and conditions for a new public-private collaboration model – Collaboration Schools – an innovative and high-quality education option for families from disadvantaged communities.

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In recent years, India’s government has focused on making schools more accessible, yet the country still struggles with improving the low quality of education. It’s estimated that 53 percent of fifth-graders can’t read at a second grade level. Meanwhile, 46 percent can’t solve a two-digit subtraction problem.

Naturally, we all share the goal for every child living in urban poverty to have access to the best education possible. Improving India’s school system, implementing reliable assessment tools, empowering high-quality educators and increasing student outcomes requires a lot of effort by a lot of stakeholders. That’s why we’re working with others in the philanthropic world who share our belief in the need for innovative education programs and assessment tools to help children learn and achieve more.

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