The enterprising poor, in huge numbers, are voting with their feet. They are sacrificing their meager earnings to put their wards into low-cost private schools. Omega Schools has responded with an innovative Pay-As-You-Learn™ model – a chain of low cost private schools with specialized curriculum, assessment, technology and management modules that are benefiting the poor and empowering aspirations of low income families and their communities.
Founded by Ken & Lisa Donkoh, and James Tooley in 2008, and backed by Pearson’s Affordable Learning Fund, Omega Schools is a social enterprise on a mission to deliver quality education at the lowest cost on a grand scale. The model has proven to be extremely attractive to parents, enabling its schools to be full within 10 days of opening. Currently the chain has 38 schools educating over 20,000 students and seeking to double that number in a year.
The Pillars of Their Model
The Omega Schools model thrives on key principles:
Thinking With Their Hearts
Omega is a for-profit business but they are careful not to forget their social mission of empowering the aspirations of low income families and their communities. They have deep respect and responsibility towards all their stakeholders – the children, parents, teachers and the communities where they work. Their decisions and actions should be in the interest of the most vulnerable. They are careful not to fall to ‘group think’ or the status quo.
Every Child Matters
They want to empower the aspirations of every child and give them a valuable education with which they can improve their lives. Their motto is “Every Child Matters,” which means:
- They recognize the value of every child as a human being created in the image of God.
- They treat every child with common courtesy.
- They believe every child has something that no other child has.
- They believe every child can learn, and that children have unique learning styles.
- They become successful when all our children are able to learn.
Every Cedi Counts
They operate in a ‘sachet economy’ where parents make daily sacrifices to send their children to their schools. They do not take these sacrifices for granted as they believe they can only thrive on their daily vote of confidence. They strive to be the lowest cost private schools in their chosen markets.
They work as a team to achieve their goals, which means they respect, trust, support, and communicate openly with each other. They value the voices of every team member.
They are continuously seeking to improve both what they do and how they do it. They hold themselves to a high standard of conduct and performance. They set goals as an organization and as professionals and support each other in reaching those goals. They give and receive feedback, and constantly work to improve their performance as individuals and as an organization.
Their business model leverages scale, reducing costs to a level that can dramatically extend access and improve quality.
Honest and Ethical Practices
They comply with laws and regulations, and they seek the interest of the larger society. They support their students and employees in doing the right thing.