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Makini Schools owner to earn a fortune from sale

With 3,200 students paying an average of Ksh250,000 per year, annual revenue from schools fees alone is nearly one billion shillings

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Dr Mary Elizabeth Okelo, co-founder of Makini group of schools

The Pius Okelo family, the owner and founder of the Makini group of schools, has agreed to sell the company to an international education partnership in a deal that could top Ksh1 billion. The prestigious Makini group of schools, founded in 1978 by Dr Mary Okelo along with her late husband Dr Pius Okelo, is well-known for good academic performance in the region, and has 8 schools on 4 campuses in Nairobi and Kisumu, with 3,200 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

This acquisition of Makini, which caught Kenyans by surprise, is subject to the fulfillment of conditions. According to Dr Okelo, the deal was made possible by the establishment of a new partnership between ADvTECH Ltd and Scholé Ltd. The financial details have not been revealed but being a leading brand in education, she’s likely to be paid billions of  shillings for the schools.

With 3,200 students paying an average of Ksh250,000 per year, earnings from schools fees alone is Ksh800 million. If you factor in other assets, the value of the schools easily crosses the one billion shilling mark, pushing the valuation of the company in the neighbourhood of Ksh2 billion mark.

READ: Samsung builds free preparatory school in Ruiru

Dr Okelo, whose leadership contribution in Africa has received major international recognition, was the first female bank manager at Barclays Bank East Africa, founder of the Barclays Bank Women’s Association, and Senior Advisor to the President of the African Development Bank.

She holds two honorary doctorates – one from United Graduate College and Seminary in the USA for her contribution to humanity, and the other from Africa Nazarene University, Nairobi, for distinguished service to the community.

ADvTECH, a provider of private education in Africa, is owner operator of more than 117 educational sites in Southern Africa. Scholé has successfully operated schools in Zambia and Uganda since 2012.

Under the new partnership, ADvTECH and Scholé are seeking to acquire schools across the continent and build a network of institutions known for their academic excellence in the mid-fee segment.

Jaco Lotz, International Business Executive at ADvTECH, says the new partnership allows ADvTECH to explore further opportunities in the region to allow collaboration between education partners. “We are proud to be part of this new initiative to ensure that the Makini group of schools will continue to grow and develop for the benefit of future generations,” he says.

Scholé Founder and Chief Executive Adam Nichols says they are excited about opportunities for future collaboration and growth. “We will ensure that Makini will continue delivering an excellent education to its students and maintain its leading position in Kenya.

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“We will invest in the schools’ facilities and talented teaching team, and bring new technology into the classrooms to ensure all Makini students have the very best educational opportunities,” he said.

“We’re grateful to Dr Okelo for her confidence in our ability to continue her outstanding legacy. Her ideas and vision are vital to our ambitions to expand the number of Makini schools and make a Makini education available to many more children.”

Meanwhile, in Uganda, the partners will continue to operate Kisubi High School, a co-ed mid-fee boarding school in Kampala, which provides a child-centred learning experience for its more than 900 students. Scholé has been managing the school since 2015.

SEE: Makini schools shift to foreigners communicated in a letter to parents

ADvTECH owns 9 tertiary brands

The ADvTECH Group, a JSE-listed company, is one of Africa’s largest private education provider and placement services. The group reports its performance in a segmental structure reflecting the Schools and Tertiary as two separate education divisions, and Resourcing as the third division.

It owns 9 tertiary brands, across 29 campuses across South Africa and the rest of Africa. Its higher education division, The Independent Institute of Education, is SA’s largest and most accredited private higher education provider.

ADvTECH’s Schools division comprises 7 brands with 94 schools across South Africa, including Gaborone International School in Botswana and Crawford International in Nairobi, Kenya. Its 9 resourcing brands places thousands of candidates annually, assisting graduates to make the transition from the world of study to the world of work.

The Scholé experience

Scholé combines global and African education expertise to operate local curriculum schools for students from 2 to 18 years of age. The company has been operating in Africa since 2012, where its child centred approach to teaching and learning has already proved successful in improving the quality of education and uplifting exam results in schools in Zambia and Uganda.

Scholé applies global educational best practice through research, introducing leading edge classroom technology and promoting collaboration between schools. Scholé’s founding team brings over 40 years’ experience in the UK education system, where its members have been involved in delivering major government school improvement programmes, opening new schools and technical colleges and advising the past two Prime Ministers on education and youth policy.

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Business Today is the leading independent online business website in Kenya. Started in 2012 by a veteran business journalist, it has a huge following both in Kenya and abroad. It covers various business and related issues. Email editor at: [email protected]

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