Pearson Makes New Investments to Improve Learning Outcomes

Pearson Makes New Investments to Improve Learning Outcomes

Pearson Affordable Learning Fund to invest additional $50 million to support education entrepreneurs.

New Literacy Project seeks to improve literacy rates.

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, has announced two new initiatives to increase its support for better educational outcomes in the developing world. 

Karim Daoud, managing director of Pearson in the Middle East says:

“Pearson has announced new plans to invest $50 million (£33 million) in ventures that provide education to low-income learners in emerging markets, through the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund. Through the new $50 million investment, Pearson expects to reach millions of additional students and young people by 2020. In addition – by providing financial backing, good governance, and operational support to education entrepreneurs – the Fund aims to foster and scale innovation throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America”.

The Fund launched in 2012 with $15 million of capital. It sets improvements in learning outcomes and market-based returns as conditions of continued investment. The Fund has already invested in innovative education start-ups in South Africa, Ghana, India, and the Philippines. Half of the fund is currently invested in companies with female CEOs. 

In a further commitment to education in the developing world, Pearson is launching Project Literacy, a new social impact campaign to improve global literacy rates over the next five years. Despite the dramatic gains achieved in improving the literacy rates in countries such as the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, global levels of illiteracy have not improved since 2000. Today, nearly 800m people around the world cannot read and write.

Project Literacy will combine Pearson’s expertise in education with financial support from the company with the aim of accelerating improvements in literacy throughout the developing world. Pearson expects to announce its first Project Literacy partnerships in the first half of 2015.

Pearson chief executive John Fallon said:

“Every parent wants the best possible education for their children. Yet, around the world, one in ten children don’t attend primary school because high-quality schools just aren’t available. The Pearson Affordable Learning Fund has already shown it is possible to address this challenge by making low-cost, high-quality schools and services accessible to parents in the developing world. We are tripling our investment in the Fund because we know that this approach works, and makes a transformative difference to lives across the world.

“Through our new investments and the Project Literacy campaign, our goal is to support entrepreneurs and campaigners who want to transform education for millions of students across the world.”

Katelyn Donnelly, managing director of the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund, said:

“The Pearson Affordable Learning Fund supports the brightest entrepreneurs aiming to transform education in the developing world. Our much-needed capital helps improve standards and push for scale to benefit those learners who are most in need of a world-class education.

“We believe that start-up culture can inject innovation and determination into some of the world’s toughest educational systems.”

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