The chain school

Can we teach the same way we make Big Macs?

As a freelance journalist, Marc-André Sabourin contributes regularly to L’actualité magazine, covering business and technology. His work has taken him to Cameroon, Russia, and the United States, where he has written on topics such as the legalization of cannabis and the destruction of chemical weapons.

“As an independent journalist, funding a story in a developing country is often difficult. By solving the financial side of the equation, the Aga Khan Fellowship for International Development Reporting allows me to focus on the main topic: the story.”

Read the article: L’école à la chaîneL’actualité, May 2017


Can we teach the same way we make Big Macs? It’s a shocking idea, but this is precisely the avenue chosen by Bridges International Academies, a startup founded by two Americans in Kenya with the aim of tackling the problem of basic education… while making a profit.

For six dollars a month, the company guarantees that a teacher will always be present in class and that the quality of education will be the same for all students – two promises that Kenya’s public school system have not managed to keep.

Over 100,000 students currently attend one of the Bridges International Academies’ schools, a figure that the startup hopes will climb to 10 million by 2025 thanks to its growth in Africa and Asia.

As a journalist covering economic issues, I am intrigued by Bridges International Academies’ approach. International development issues are rarely seen as business opportunities, and the role of the private sector in this field is often the subject of debate.
The Fellowship for International Development Reporting gives me the means to collect the facts directly in the field. This will allow me to investigate the matter more thoroughly and spark public discussion.

Fellowship for International Development Reporting

The Fellowship for International Development Reporting encouraged journalists to push the boundaries of daily foreign coverage – which is often focused on disaster or crisis – and set new standards for reporting on the developing world. Fellowship recipients were provided with $25,000 to undertake a substantial reporting project which helps Canadians develop a greater understanding of the complex issues facing the developing world.

The Fellowship has two objectives: to encourage ambitious foreign reporting during an era of tighter news budgets; and, to foster a community of Canadian journalists who share an interest in reporting original topics from the developing world.

The Fellowship for International Development Reporting was a joint initiative of the Canadian Association of Journalists(CAJ) and Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC).