10 thoughts on “Billionaire Bill Gates’ poor schools in Africa

  1. Monday 7th November 2016

    posted by James Tweedie in World

    Minister’s decision to shut low-grade private institutes upheld

    GLOBAL education unions yesterday welcomed Uganda’s victory over a chain of sordid shack schools bankrolled by the world’s richest man.

    Bridge International Academies (BIA) appealed against Ugandan Education Minister Janet Museveni’s decision this summer to close its 63 private schools and transfer their 12,000 pupils to state education.

    But Kampala’s High Court ruled in the government’s favour late on Friday, with Lady Justice Patricia Basaza Wasswa confirming that the transnational was operating in breach of the law and dismissing the appeal, with costs awarded to the government.

    The closures were ordered after inspectors found that poor sanitation at the schools — typically corrugated iron shacks — was putting children’s health at risk.

    BIA was also employing unqualified teachers on low wages to give scripted lessons from a handheld tablet computer and not following the national curriculum.

    Teaching union federation Education International (EI), which led a campaign against BIA’s undermining of educational standards and wages, welcomed the “major setback” for the company.

    EI vice-president for Africa Mugwena Maluleke told the Morning Star yesterday: “If BIA’s up-to-now bogus, profit-seeking, rote-learning neocolonial tin-shack establishments are not able and willing to — and do actually — comply with the law, then they will not be permitted to continue.”

    He said EI and the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), of which he is general secretary, hailed the ruling as “a victory for professional education and a welcome correction to cheap, fraudulent, fake education made by businesspeople who know nothing about it.

    “Gone are the days when shallow standardised texts produced by foreign imperialists could be passed off as ‘education’ in free, independent African countries.”

    Ugandan teachers’ union Unatu general secretary James Tweheyo called on the government to “protect and promote the principle of access and equity for all students through the provision of public education, which must set the standards for high-quality education.”

    BIA, which aims to sell private schooling to 10 million poor children in Africa and Asia by 2025, is backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates — the world’s richest man — and fellow dotcom billionaires Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook and Ebay’s Pierre Omidyar.

    It also receives funding from the World Bank and Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID), which funnelled £5.5 million to BIA over the past year.



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