The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) contracted Bridge—as part of the Developing Effective Private Education Nigeria (DEEPEN) programme—to open new community schools in Lagos and help address the shortage of quality education provision in the area for low income families.
DFID commissioned a study – researched and authored by Oxford Policy Management and the University of Sussex—to assess if the service provided achieved the stated goal of better learning for children.
The report “Learning in Lagos: Comparing Student Achievement in Bridge, Public and Private Schools” made the landmark finding that at Bridge schools, there is equity of learning. Bridge schools are places of equal opportunity and equal learning benefits for all types of children. The report states that “Students from better socioeconomic backgrounds have higher learning achievement in private and public schools, but not at Bridge schools.” This contradicts decades of global education research that asserts family background matters more than the school a child attends, in relation to levels of learning.
- “At Bridge schools, there is equity of learning. Bridge schools are places of equal opportunity and equal learning benefits for all types of children. Parental income, parental education and speaking English at home has no correlation to Bridge students’ academic performance.”
Equity: In these graphs, the slopes of each line tell an equity story; the flatter the line, the more equitable are performance outcomes across each family background characteristics.
- Overall, Bridge pupils are demonstrating higher attainment than their peers.
- In literacy, 80% of Bridge pupils perform above the sample average, compared to 62% of students in low cost private schools and 18% in public schools.
- Bridge schools are better managed than other schools.
- Bridge teachers report higher motivation than teachers in other schools
- Bridge teachers were less likely to “hit, pinch, or slap” a child during a lesson (5%) than in private or public schools (both 31%).
The study is a strong endorsement of the work DFID has enabled through the DEEPEN programme in Nigeria. Not only has Bridge made a significant contribution to the overall mix and size of quality education provision in Lagos, it has also delivered higher attainment equally for all children. This is true even where the comparison schools were twice the cost of Bridge.