Enko Education this month launched its first school in South Africa, bringing its total in sub-Saharan Africa to seven schools.
The school, located in Ferndale, will teach a curriculum that is based on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organisation norms. Its programmes lead to the completion of an IB diploma.
The new institution will start with grades 8, 9 and 10 and grow to include all learners from grades 8 to 12. Enko Ferndale International School will offer two school calendars: one running from September, the other from January.
The school was built through a $2.2-million investment from the French Development Agency’s private sector-focused subsidiary Proparco and Investisseurs & Partenaires.
Proparco South Africa regional director Denis Sireyjol said this was Proparco’s first direct investment in venture capital, with early-stage companies now part of its new global strategy.
"Proparco is proud to be involved with this initiative that will increase access to quality education and create employment. This initiative speaks to the cornerstone of Proparco’s strategy in South Africa and in Africa,” he added.
The investment will also enable Enko Education to finance the first years of operation of its existing schools, as well as the launch of new schools in 2017.
This will support the development of a quality education offering by a private player targeting the African middle class and will complement the efforts being made by governments.
This initiative will, in the long run, create over 1 300 jobs, half of which will be teaching positions.
Enko Education’s other schools are situated in Cameroon, Mozambique and Côte d’Ivoire and within the next five years, Enko Education is expecting to open over 30 international secondary schools, predominantly across Francophone and Southern Africa.
“Our ambition is to enable talented youth across Africa to enroll in the world’s best universities by giving them cost-effective access to an internationally-recognised curriculum,” the company said in a statement.
Currently, there are an estimated 1.3-million IB graduates in 140 countries. The IB diploma is recognised by over 2 000 universities in 75 countries.
By adopting an asset-light strategy and providing extensive training to local teachers, Enko Education can charge schools fees that are on average a quarter of those charged by other IB schools in Africa.
Although Enko Education targets the growing African middle class, the company aims to enroll 10% to 20% of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in its schools through various scholarship programmes.
Enko Education also aims to benefit public education systems in the countries where it has schools. Specifically, each school plans to invite government school educators to its training sessions and engage actively in professional development and educational improvement discourse in Francophone and Southern Africa.