Pearson Invests in Blended Learning in South Africa, India

PALF: The Pearson Affordable Learning Fund's latest investments go to two companies that leverage technology to grow low-cost private schools in under-resourced communities: SPARK Schools in South Africa ($2.7 million) and Zaya Labs in India ($480,000). Pearson will hold a minority stake in both companies.

SPARK Schools operates a chain of affordable private schools and plans to have 60 in place by 2024. Christina Quattrochi chatted with SPARK's founders, Stacey Brewer and Ryan Harrison, to learn more about the blended learning model and get a peek at a day in the life of a SPARK student.

Zaya delivers a package of devices and services that make it possible to set up affordable blended learning labs. The company offers a backpack-sized LabKit--which includes hardware pre-loaded with content and management tools--along with professional development for teachers. So far it has labs set up in nearly a dozen schools. CEO Neil D'Souza shared the Zaya story--along with the troubled history of edtech in India--with EdSurge last year.

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