Bill Gates’ filthy schools for African children

This video says about itself:

Profiting from the Poor: the case of Bridge International Academies in Kenya

8 November 2016

Pupils are not really learning and teachers are not really teaching at Bridge International Academies in Kenya. Still, many families sacrifice large sums of their budget, which go into the “low cost” education provided by this chain. But what lies behind the green walls of these schools? Should parents trust them, pupils put their future into their hands and international donors contribute to the success of a chain that is not up to standards when it comes to offering quality education for all? This video will be eye-opening for many.

Bridge runs more than 400 nurseries and primary schools across Africa. It started its expansion after opening its first school in a slum in 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya, where it currently operates 359 academies throughout catering to 102,644 students with over 4255 academy staff.

Bridge is financially supported by the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and education conglomerate Pearson Ltd. It is also supported by the World Bank and DfID-UK. Bridge’s business model, which includes fee charging schools run by unqualified teachers delivering a scripted standardised curriculum, has faced heavy criticism.

The Ugandan branch of Bridge has recently come under scrutiny for offering an education well below the national standards, which prompted the order by the Ugandan Education Ministry to close the schools in Ocotber 2016. Also attracting significant criticism is the Liberian Government’s announcement to outsource its primary schools to Bridge.

The company has plans to dramatically increase the scale and scope of its operations to deliver education services to over 10 million children across a dozen countries by 2025.

To find more about Bridge go here.

By James Tweedie:

Kenya will crack down on Gates’s filthy shack schools

Wednesday 7th December 2016

KENYA has vowed to crack down on the chain of shack schools bankrolled by the world’s richest man after a damning report by teaching unions.

The Kenyan National Union of Teachers (KNUT) launched the report by global federation Education International (EI) into the transnational Bridge International Academies (BIA) in Nairobi on Monday.

BIA has high-profile backers such as Microsoft boss Bill Gates, along with venture capitalists and the British and US governments.

It aims to supplant governments in Africa and India as the main provider of education to the poor, with a target of 10 million children from families living on about £1.60 a day enrolled by 2025.

But poor teaching standards, low wages and high fees have characterised the operation. Parents interviewed by the report’s authors said they struggled to pay fees, which could reach £16 a month when school dinners and other costs are factored in.

The report also found that 71.5 per cent of the firm’s teachers were unqualified, giving scripted lessons read from tablet computers.

They teach a shocking 59 hours of classes a week on average, on a median salary of about £80 per month.

KNUT general secretary Wilson Sossion called on the government to close all 405 BIA schools in the country, saying: “They should not be allowed to exploit children from poor households.”

Education Minister Fred Matiang’i told reporters he had visited some of the schools and agreed with the report’s conclusions.

“It is true that some of these schools are … (not) offering quality education as they purport to,” he said, adding that the government would be releasing its own report into the outfit.

Mr Matiang’i said he had instructed county commissioners across the country to ensure only official Teaching Service Commission-qualified staff were giving classes from January.

“We are also targeting schools that are not registered or are operating on illegal licences,” he said.

Last month BIA’s chain of 63 schools in Uganda — typically corrugated iron shacks — was shut down after the it lost a court appeal against an education ministry closure order.

The ministry said the schools’ sanitation was so sordid that it endangered pupils’ health and that the firm was not following the national curriculum.

“Bridge International Academies has a few lessons to learn yet,” said EI general secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “The decision of the government of Uganda to close Bridge for failing the meet and adhere to minimum standards has sent a very clear message to this corporate actor.

“The right to quality free education cannot be undermined.”

15 thoughts on “Bill Gates’ filthy schools for African children

  1. Pingback: Bill Gates’ filthy schools for African children — Dear Kitty. Some blog | CHILDREN IN SHADOW – CHILDREN IN WAR BLOG | CHILDREN IN SHADOW ::: CHILDREN IN WAR

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  3. Kenya has a highly developed education system, from nursery through to university institutions, though there is often a shortage of schools and staff in remote areas. Many of the state schools also lack resources. If the rich want to help, why do they not sponsor children through the existing school system, and/or find creative ways to support what is there already. Indigenous publishing houses cater for school needs with a wide range of textbooks, the problem is the expense for parents who have to purchase them.


      • Actually this is quite a difficult one. Education in Kenya has long been ‘privatised’, at least in some senses. Until a few years ago when Britain’s DFID sponsored free primary school education, all schooling had to be paid for. I believe secondary school education still has to be paid for. And even when there are no school fees, as I said, books must be bought by parents, and also uniforms, and these expenses can be a big obstacle to sending children to school. Parents also expect to get value for money. Often a whole village is sponsoring a child through secondary school. There are also a very great number of private schools in Kenya – some run by missions, others by trusts and businesses. A number have facilities that many a British child might envy; others are not so well equipped. I don’t think Gates and Co needed to introduce yet another kind of fee based school.


  4. Friday 9th December 2016

    posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

    Global Justice Now charges dodgy aid firm ‘exploiting poor’

    THE government is planning to quadruple aid money given to a private equity company funding developments such as luxury hotels, shopping centres and expensive private fee-paying schools, Global Justice Now charged yesterday.

    The campaign group accused the government of “inviting scandal” by increasing overseas aid money to private equity operation CDC Group plc, wholly owned by the Department for International Development (DfID), to £6 billion.

    The group pointed out that most of the cash will be funnelled through tax havens and much of it would benefit private businesses with no evidence that the poor of Africa and Asia would benefit.

    However the increase in resources is subject to the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill, which Global Justice Now has submitted a briefing opposing.

    The briefing states: “DfID is essentially asking Parliament to pre-approve increased funding for its controversial investment arm before presenting a worked-through strategy or plan for how this money will be spent and how taxpayers will be assured that it helps meet the official mission of this spending: ending global poverty.

    “This raises serious concerns as this Bill could clear the path to a massive diversion of public aid money towards private businesses — without sufficient transparency, accountability or proof of impact.”

    The briefing lists some of the projects being funded by overseas money via CDC.

    They include private health centres in India, expensive fee-paying schools in Kenya, an upmarket shopping centre and luxury apartments in Kenya and palm oil plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo mired in labour scandals.

    The briefing also says 28 of CDC’s 38 investments since 2012 are located in tax havens, with no accountability for spending and little understanding of its impacts.

    Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden said: “Since 2008 there’s been a series of reports that raise critical questions about CDC’s fundamental approach to using UK aid money.

    “CDC appears to be throwing money at luxury hotels and shopping malls in countries in Africa and Asia, with — unsurprisingly — no evidence to show that any of this wealth is trickling down to the poor and marginalised communities who should be benefitting.

    “Taxpayers are proud of the fact that the UK has made a strong, legal commitment to aid spending, but they would be horrified to see that money being used to shore up luxury developments rather than supporting real needs like robust public health and education services in the global south.”

    The Bill is at the Committee stage.

    The briefing recommends that the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill is not passed.

    It also calls for “DfID’s relationship with CDC be opened to a fundamental review as we do not believe that CDC is currently performing a justifiable role in the eradication of global poverty.” DfID did not respond to a request for comment at the time of the Star going to press.


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