King Essentials

Rising Academies

Innovative tools and management practices enable delivery of high-quality education

The Challenge

Decades of civil conflict, in tandem with the Ebola and Covid-19 crises, have left Liberia with one of the world’s highest rates of children who are not in school. In addition, nearly half of the country’s enrolled schoolchildren are “over-age”—meaning that they have not advanced to age-appropriate grade levels—and lack foundational reading and math skills.

The Approach

Rising Academies engages with networks of public and private schools to improve the quality of classroom instruction. Toward that end, the organization delivers programming that combines well-designed curriculum materials, effective coaching and supervision of teachers, and the use of advanced management systems.

Why We Invest

Rising Academies provides high-quality education at an affordable cost to more than 50,000 students in Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. It delivers its programming through a network of low-cost private schools, through partnerships with government schools, and through distance learning efforts. Given the magnitude of the global education crisis—particularly in the aftermath of Covid-19 school closures—Rising’s cost-effective, scalable approach to delivering education services stands out.

Impact evaluations have shown that Rising compares favorably with other school operators in its ability to drive learning gains—and to do so efficiently and on a large scale. Rising has become one of the top-performing operators in the LEAP program, in which the Liberian Ministry of Education contracts with private organizations to operate selected public schools. An independent, three-year randomized controlled trial of LEAP evaluated Rising’s program alongside both government-run schools and the programs of seven other private education providers. During the study, Rising students advanced more than twice as fast as students in comparable government-run schools. Over the three-year period, moreover, Rising achieved a sixfold increase in the number of students whom it reached and reduced its per-pupil cost by 75%.

In Sinoe County, Liberia, a Rising Academies staff member conducts a learning assessment with a student in an early childhood education (ECE) program.

Photo: Rising Academies

How We Partner

Rising Academies is a for-profit entity. For that reason, King Philanthropies is funding the organization in two discrete but complementary ways.

First, King Philanthropies has made a direct equity investment in Rising. Along with UBS Optimus Foundation and David Weekley Family Foundation, we are participating in Rising’s convertible SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) funding round. This funding supports the organization’s current work in Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and may support expansion to additional countries.

Second, King Philanthropies provides philanthropic support to Rising-affiliated public and nonprofit entities. In Liberia, this support allows Rising to partner with more government schools, and it is funding a third-party evaluation of the organization’s accelerated learning program for over-age students.

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