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 October 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:
Teachers stop funds for shack schools
Saturday 22nd April 2017
World Bank urged to burn its Bridges
Unions led by global federations Education International (EI) and Public Services International marched on the bank’s Washington headquarters to demand that it stop giving loans to Bridge International Academies (BIA).
Participants included the Uganda National Teachers’ Union and Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) — both at the forefront of the fight against BIA — along with Britain’s NUT and NASUWT teaching trade unions.
They delivered a letter to World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim calling on him to “stop investment in so-called low-fee private schools in general and specifically in Bridge International Academies.”
The letter said: “A highquality public education must be recognised as a public good, and that the provision of education is a primary responsibility of governments, not corporations and entrepreneurs.”
BIA — bankrolled by the world’s richest man, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, along with Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and eBay’s Pierre Omidyar — aims to dominate education in Africa and India with its low-fee private schools.
But last year Uganda’s Education Ministry shut down all 68 of BIA’s schools in the country after inspectors found that 70 per cent of teachers were unqualified, the national curriculum was not being followed and toilet facilities were so squalid that they put pupils’ health at risk.
More recently, Kenya closed 10 BIA schools for failing to meet basic educational standards.
Untrained staff in overcrowded classrooms give lessons from a script on a tablet computer, and are paid far below the going rate.
The unions also pointed out that BIA’s “low-cost” model was still unaffordable for most families, with Kenyan parents spending between 44 per cent and 138 per cent of their household income to send three children to school.
BIA’s response to teaching unions’ attempts to maintain standards was to harass EI investigator Curtis Riep in Uganda and seek an injunction barring KNUT general secretary Wilson Sossion and other members from publicly criticising the company.
“The World Bank should bring all stakeholders together in a renewed effort to remove the financial and social barriers keeping the world’s children from reaching their full potential,” the letter concluded.