Alas, the fourth and final blog in which I attempt to capture the essence of Edify and why our organization exists. If you missed the previous posts, the first postprovided a framework for why Edify works in the affordable private school space and a general overview of our 3 interventions in education development.The second post delved into why we provide capital to affordable, Christian schools. The third post explains why and how we train school teachers and school leadership to more effectively lead their classrooms and schools in providing high-quality, low-cost education that gives students critical thinking skills and an understanding and formation to be able to live out the gospel.
Aside from providing loan capital for growth and improvement of the school as well as teacher and school leadership training, Edify also seeks to provide schools with access to quality Christian curriculum and educational technology resources to help schools achieve their goal of providing a transformational education.
Many times, people fall into the trap of thinking that technology will fix everything. We have seen this in the education sector as various attempts at improving the quality of learning simply by putting technology into the hands of teachers or students have failed miserably. We recognize that it not a silver-bullet as my colleague Gates shared in this blog post. However, technology offers incredible opportunities for individuals to learn, communicate and find jobs in ways that they never could have before. So we believe that we can help level the playing field by connecting affordable private schools with technology resources that can allow students to learn to read, learn English skills and learn math skills at a deeper level than they would have otherwise. Teachermate is an example of one solution that we are piloting in Rwanda. It is an initiative based out of Stanford University and it allows students to use handheld mobile which essentially creates a mobile learning center that can be shared among various schools. Click here to watch the short video.
Many schools are required by the secretary of education to have a computer lab if they want to offer high-school. Edify helps schools achieve this goal by providing access to low-cost hardware solutions, educational software and financing for the labs since most low-cost schools do not have the cash on hand for such an investment. While assisting with technology solutions isn’t the norm in most of the schools that we work in, we have begun supporting some schools with technology solutions in all three of the countries that we work in; Ghana, Rwanda and the Dominican Republic.
Providing schools with access to quality Christian educational material is another critical aspect of what Edify does. In the Dominican Republic we provide teacher training and access to curriculum through the AMO program. Through local educational experts, we have also developed lesson plans using material from the Bible League which we are able to provide to schools at extremely low costs. What is our role in this? Edify simply connects school owners with the Bible League’s existing resources and makes those resources relevant in a Dominican culture with applicable lesson plans. Whether it’s AMO, Bible League or another provider of quality Christian curriculum, we are able to help facilitate materials and lesson plans at rates and quantities that the schools may not have ever been able to access before.
In sum, Edify seeks to provide schools with these 3 essential pillars for affordable, private schools to stand upon;
1) Access to low cost capital for school expansion, improvement and operations.
2) Teacher and school leadership training to raise the quality of education, increase Christ-centered learning and more effectively operate the school.
3) Providing access to curriculum and technology resources when appropriate to help schools achieve their mission.
While it’s not easy to describe the impact that this has on students, schools and communities in just four blog posts, I hope this series has provided a better understanding of who we are and why we do what we do. Please join us in our work through prayer, financial support or coming to volunteer and spend some time working alongside us.