Pearson's Affordable Learning Fund Gets $50M Injection

PALF: Pearson is injecting $50 million of new capital for its Affordable Learning Fund, which invests in education projects in developing countries. Launched in 2012, PALF has invested most of its initial $15 million to build a portfolio that includes edtech companies and low-cost private schools across India, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and the Philippines. (Half of these ventures are led by female CEOs, the press release notes.)The biggest investment was in APEC, a chain of secondary schools in the Philippines.

PALF has also funded a couple of "Edupreneurs" competitions where local startups compete for $75K. There's been no investments yet in Latin America, although that is one of its target markets.

In conjunction with this funding, Pearson also announced a campaign, "Project Literacy," to "improve global literacy rates over the next five years." Statistics from UNESCO, as of Sept. 2013, suggest there are 774 million illiterate adults around the world (PDF). We'll be watching you closely, Pearson.

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