Billionaire Bill Gates’ poor schools in Africa

This January 2016 video from Kenya is called Uproar Over Bridge International Schools.

Over 100 international organizations signed a statement critical of privatization of education in Kenya and Uganda. They specifically criticized the World Bank for endorsing a for-profit chain of schools called Bridge International Academies. According to the statement released today, “BIA is backed by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Pierre Omidiyar, and multinational publishing company Pearson, among others. It operates in Kenya and Uganda, with plans to invest in Nigeria, India and other countries. It now has close to 120,000 pupils enrolled in more than 400 schools.” The endorsers of the statement believe these countries need free public education with qualified teachers, not for-profit schools with untrained teachers: here.

With results like for-profit Trump University?

From Business Daily in Kenya:

Teachers unions, NGOs call for closure of Bridge schools


Tuesday, January 26 2016 at 19:45

Teachers unions have joined hands with civil society groups in demanding the closure of Bridge International Academies for flouting quality standards, shining the spotlight on slum-based institutions as the government proposed strict rules for informal schools.

In a joint statement read by Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary-general Wilson Sossion, sector players accused Bridge International, which operates 405 nursery and primary schools in slums, of failing to follow set guidelines.

“The expansion of Bridge schools is a manifestation of the growing commercialisation and privatisation of education in Kenya, which are the greatest threat to the achievement of the UN sustainable development goals,” said Mr Sossion. …

Teachers at Bridge earn a monthly pay of Sh12,000 which is lower than the average Sh16,000 paid to primary school tutors in public schools. …

Mr Sossion argued that despite the schools receiving support from top philanthropists like Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg it still charges parents about Sh1,326 ($13) and was even advertising for more pupils to join.

Privatisation vultures pose serious threat to Liberia’s public education system: here.

Unfounded accusations by Bridge International Academies lead to the arrest of academic, raising serious concerns for transparency of the for-profit school chain: here.

From daily New Vision in Uganda:

The Ministry of Education has suspended the expansion of Bridge International schools in Uganda over poor infrastructure and academic standards.

In a letter dated April 6, 2016 signed by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Rose Nassali Lukwago, the owners of the school have been ordered to halt their expansion with immediate effect.

“Following this rapid expansion, the Ministry is greatly concerned about several issues, but not limited to the legality according to the Education Act 2008, the quality of infrastructure, teachers’ issues, methodology and curriculum,” Nasali said in the letter.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Unions attack failings of schools funded by Gates

Tuesday 27th September 2016

GLOBAL teaching union federation Education International (EI) urged the Ugandan government yesterday to ensure that private schools bankrolled by US billionaire Bill Gates were fit for purpose.

The Bridge International Academies (BIA) chain of tin-shack schools opened for the new term after the Kampala High Court granted an interim order before an October 3 appeal.

Education Minister Janet Museveni ordered the closure of BIA’s 63 low-cost private schools in August, citing “poor hygiene and sanitation which put the life and safety of schoolchildren in danger,” along with their use of unqualified teachers and failure to follow the national curriculum.

EI project director Angelo Gavrielatos told the Morning Star: “Bridge’s business plan is predicated on the employment of unqualified staff delivering a highly scripted standardised curriculum in cheaply constructed facilities.”

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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