Sunny Varkey, an entrepreneur from India who lives in Dubai, launched the Varkey Foundation Challenge Fund in March 2016. The $200,000 global education fund was created to support education projects across the globe.
Varkey set up the Challenge Fund to help accomplish the goals of his non-profit, the Varkey Foundation, which works to ensure every child in the world has access to quality teachers.
The fund strives to provide good teachers and quality education to all children, no matter their circumstances.
“The Challenge Fund looks to support early-stage initiatives which build the capacity of teachers and to strengthen the status of the teaching profession,” Varkey said.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab States and South Asia are facing massive teacher shortages. This has put efforts to provide quality teachers and education for children at risk.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) found that sub-Saharan Africa must raise its current stock of teachers by 68 percent in less than a decade to provide its students with enough teachers.
However, simply hiring teachers will not solve the problem. Educators will need adequate training and support in order to provide quality instruction.
The minimum qualification to become a teacher is approximately nine years of schooling. Unfortunately, 43 percent of teachers in the Congo and 55 percent of teachers in Lao People’s Democratic Republic do not meet this requirement.
The countries that need the most new teachers are also the countries with the least-qualified teachers — this issue is one the Varkey Foundation Challenge Fund hopes to fix.
Varkey’s first projects have already been chosen but non-profit organizations from any country may apply for a portion of the global education fund.
The company will start with organizations in China, Ghana, the Middle East and Ukraine according to The Economic Times. Partner organizations that offer innovative solutions that support the fund’s mission are also offered grants of up to $50,000.
– Alice Gottesman