SMILE (Stanford Mobile Inquiry-Learning Environment)
Seeds of Empowerment, a California-based non-profit organization, implements SMILE (Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment) in developing regions. Currently, SMILE is used in multiple scenarios. For example, in countries such as Ghana and Tanzania, SMILE is implemented for secondary school students with partnering local organizations to distribute high-quality open source education contents and enhance learning experiences while enabling technology-based assessment schemes.
Background on Low-Cost Private Schools
Over the past decade, the number of low-cost private schools in low- and middle-income countries has steadily increased. This growth has been especially pronounced in certain geographies. In India, for example, the number of low cost private schools has more than doubled since 1993, while in Kenya, low cost private school enrollment has tripled since 1997, despite the abolition of public school fees. Parental buy-in has been central to the growth of low cost private schools. Commonly cited reasons for sending children to low cost private schools include overcrowding and high teacher absenteeism in public schools, a lack of public schools in some remote areas, a perceived high quality of teaching in private schools, and the presence of government incentive programs that cover private school costs.
The Center for Education Innovations (CEI) has documented 40 programs that focus on the low cost private school sector in its database of education innovations. These range from chains of schools that standardize their models to keep costs down to programs that provide support services to make schools more sustainable and affordable for underserved communities. Of these 40 profiled programs, 31 were launched after 2005 and most are located in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (especially Kenya and India).
Click below to read our Database-at-a-Glance report and find highlights from six common approaches & characteristics across ECD models. Learn about programs focusing on:
1) Targeting underserved or marginalized populations with subsidies to improve access to education
2) Enhancing schools’ financial sustainability through revenue- generating strategies and access to affordable capital
3) Strengthening schools’ management capacity with business and operational support
4) Lowering the cost of services through standardized, replicable processes and technologies
5) Providing supplemental customized offerings to improve the quality of teaching and learning
6) Regulating and measuring the standards of low-cost private school providers