Indiana Professors Propose African Boarding School - Higher Education

Higher Education News and Jobs

Indiana Professors Propose African Boarding School

Email




by Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Some Indiana University professors have proposed a novel way to give struggling inner-city students a fresh start: send them to boarding school in Africa. The project is still in its planning phase, and its backers admit it faces legal and financial hurdles. But the professors want to establish a school in the West African nation of Ghana where Indiana teachers would instruct some of the state’s poorest children.

“The core idea is to pull kids out of an environment where they cannot thrive and put them in one where they can,” said law professor Kevin Brown, who leads the group behind the idea.

Backers would have to raise $4 million in donations to build the school, but the $10,000 or so the state pays urban districts for a student’s education each year would cover the classes, room, board and travel, said Brown, who teaches at the university’s Bloomington campus.

Issues such as student safety and legal liability must still be addressed. But a similar project launched in the 1990s by the Abell Foundation and the Baltimore public school system in Kenya operated for seven years until being shut down amid fears of terrorist attacks on Americans after 9/11.

Brown and his group hope to persuade an urban Indiana school district to back the project or for the Indiana Department of Education to sponsor it directly.

“It’s going to be a hard sell,” Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eugene White told The Indianapolis Star. “IPS would be interested in participating, but it’s prohibitive in a lot of ways for us. The legal liability is just too great for me to consider that.”

Related:  Siemens Awards Virginia State University $105.6M of In-Kind Software Grants

The founding group includes professors of law, business, psychology, marketing and education and all are offering their time to work through any issues.

They chose Ghana because it is among the most stable countries in the region, with a history of peaceful transitions of power and a large community of American expatriates. Indiana University also runs summer programs for students in the country.

Parents of Baltimore students were very receptive to the idea of the Kenyan school in the 1990s, said John Walsh, who was a member of the school’s board.

“It was often the case that an observer would say, ‘Why so far away, and why to Africa?’” he said. “That was not a question their parents would ask. They would say, ‘Wow, that’s exciting.’ ”

That school had most of its students graduate or received GEDs, which would have been unlikely for them back home. The board of the Baraka School still hopes to reopen it at some point, and Walsh said the model makes sense for other cities to replicate.

“For at-risk kids that are living in neighborhoods where there are drugs and violence,” he said, “it’s a no-brainer for me.”

RELATED ARTICLES >>
University of Louisville Board Appoints New Interim School President LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville’s board of trustees elected a new chairman and appointed an interim school president Saturday, during its first meeting since being formed by Gov. Matt Bevin. Media reports say the board appointed Dr....
Jackson State’s Interim Chief Looks to Cut Expenses JACKSON, Miss. — Interim Jackson State University President Rod Paige says his main priority is to get the university’s finances in order, which includes hiring a chief financial officer. Paige, speaking to The Clarion-Ledger editorial board, said...
University of West Florida Professor Gives School $1M for Scholarships PENSACOLA, Fla. — A University of West Florida professor has contributed $1 million to the school for scholarships for sophomore students. The donation came from Bob Kimball, a professor of marketing and economics who ran his own successful busine...
Rhode Island Governor Looks to Pioneer Free Tuition for All PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A college-for-all idea that sparked Democratic voter enthusiasm during the presidential race could now be tested in the smallest state. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said she is pushing to make Rhode Island the first state to gu...
Semantic Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *