A Place for the Private Sector in Global Education

Better Learning, Serving Communities

“In recent years, the debate around how to fix global education has shifted,” writes Pearson CEO John Fallon in this LinkedIn post. “It is no longer enough just to talk about getting every child into school (though, alas, not because that has been solved.)”

“Just as important is what happens when they’re there,” he writes.

John calls out “brave innovators” around the world who are “exploring how new teaching and learning approaches can serve their communities.”

“Where governments are sometimes unable to take on risks, entrepreneurs and startups can focus on the most difficult challenges in education—job readiness, early childhood education, or teacher training—and make a big difference in a short space of time, from which the public sector can eventually benefit.”

Affordable Learning

In 2012, Pearson launched the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund, also called PALF.

“We believed we were uniquely placed to combine the knowledge of which learning models worked with the investment needed to succeed,” writes PALF Managing Director Katelyn Donnelly in her recent report for 2015.

“The Pearson Affordable Education Fund would have a laser focus on education companies in the developing world demonstrating high learning gains for low cost,” she writes—across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

“With our partners,” John Fallon writes, “we have helped educate 350,000 people, many of whom would not have had an education, let alone a good one.”

“And importantly,” he writes, “they are all solutions that are based on sound business plans, so are sustainable, scalable, and replicable.”

The Avanti Program in India

One of the first recipients of support from the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund was Avanti, a test prep company in Mumbai, India that supports low-income high-school students with college entrance exams, focusing on science and mathematics.

This video explains how the program is working through the story of student Sanjeev Meena in Raghogarh, India: