Schools to change lives

Paul Skidmore, chief executive of Rising Academies

In Africa, 90% of the children in school are not learning. We aim to change that.

  • Rising Academies' mission is to create schools that 'open doors and change lives'. They set up and operate their own low-fee schools; take on and improve schools previously run by governments and others; and license their curriculum and offer services to other school providers.
  • Paul was motivated by working for former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's Africa Governance Initiative where he witnessed how weak education systems were derailing ambitions for a stronger economy or better public services.
  • Challenges such as poor quality teaching and weak accountability meant that most girls leaving primary school in Sierra Leone still could not read a simple four-word sentence.
  • Paul founded Rising Academies in Sierra Leone in 2014, providing home schooling during the Ebola crisis before opening the first school in 2015.
  • They currently have 10,000 students across Sierra Leone and Liberia and expect to double that number by 2020, with plans to expand into a third African country. Rising Academies have received a UBS Optimus grant.

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Rising Academies work towards these UN Sustainable Development Goals:


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