Bridge International Academies has expressed sincere concern over statements made in the Ugandan parliament this afternoon threatening to force 12,000 Bridge children out of school and 800 Ugandans out of work, by seeking the closure of Bridge International Academies. Bridge has been working in partnership with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all Ugandan children have access to a high quality education.“We are waiting to receive the report referred to in Parliament and a copy of the Parliamentary Hansard to review the Ministry’s concerns,” says Michael Kaddu, Head of Corporate and Public Affairs for Bridge International Academies in Uganda. “We have been working closely with the Ministry to put the needs of the children first and come to a speedy resolution of any issues made known to us.”“In the meantime, our academies are running as usual as we continue to work with the relevant educational authorities to uphold our commitment to our parents and communities to provide a world-class education to their children.”
As part of the ‘school-in-a-box’ program, a detailed operating manual is given to school managers who are provided with a scripted planner on how to deal effectively with a range of management activities including finance, enrolments and marketing. ‘School-in- a-box’ also includes paper-based tracking and scheduling tools, an interactive SMS-based data reporting and a unique smart-phone based school management application with a technology equipped field-based support team….Teaching takes place from 7:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, with many children also attending a half-day on Saturday. Lessons are taught using Direct Instruction. The Bridge team develops a word-for-word, minute-by-minute scripted lesson plan for the concepts and skills to be taught in the classrooms.
“This decision, which is backed up by field visits of Ministry officials, confirms the grave concerns we have had about Bridge. We have long been worried that BIA schools did not respect the government guidelines on basic requirements and minimum standards for schools, for example, regarding infrastructure, purposefully used unqualified teachers in order to reduce costs, in violations of Ugandan laws, and were developing a massive for-profit business without the agreement and proper oversight of the authorities.”
“The Ugandan education system suffers from many shortcomings. However, it does not mean that any investors can come in and make profit out of the situation by delivering low-quality education while disregarding national authorities and standards. International treaties and a recent resolution from the UN Human Rights Council make clear that it is the duty of the government to close schools that are sub-standard or that lead to commercialization of education, and we applaud the Government for upholding its obligations.”
“Bridge has been a great blessing to our community. Prior to Bridge opening in Nsumbi, our children either had to travel a long distance to get to school or pay high fees for the local private schools. As a result, many children did not go to school. Since Bridge opened in February of this year, I have seen great changes in my grandchildren, who are now leaders in English and confidence…. As a Ugandan citizen I should have the right to give my grand-children a better future, which is why I sent them to Bridge. Now the government is taking away that right.”