We are shocked by the actions of your company, Bridge International Academies Ltd., in Uganda, against Mr. Curtis Riep, a Canadian researcher, undertaking a study commissioned by Education International. This study follows serious concerns that our International has received from a number of our member organisations concerning your operations in their countries. We are appalled that Bridge International Academies Ltd. published a ‘wanted’ advertisement in New Vision on 24 May 2016 accusing Mr. Riep of impersonating one of your employees. That allegation, together with the allegation of criminal trespass, which led to the arrest of Mr. Riep, were both dismissed following a thorough investigation by the authorities. Your actions have been exposed as not only unwarranted, but also irresponsible.
When we received word that an unknown foreign gentleman had visited a number of our academies under false pretense you can imagine our alarm and immediate fear for our pupils. We have a fiduciary responsibility to protect our children. Every parent expects that the school their children attend will protect their safety. Teachers also expect that the school at which they work will ensure that they are able to teach and lead their class without intervention.
“[Bridge] definitely orchestrated the whole thing. Literally two minutes after I sat down with executives from Bridge for an interview, their ‘detective’ and two police officers were there to arrest me,” recalled Riep of his 30 May arrest in email correspondence. “In the car that took me to the police station there was a lawyer from Bridge. When we arrived at the police station four media outlets were already there to snap photos of me.”
“BIA’s attempt at intimidation demonstrates how the company fears transparency about its own operations. We know their practices have been the subject of significant criticism, including the employment of unqualified staff delivering a scripted standardised curriculum in inadequate school facilities.”