Kenya teachers seek to follow Uganda and ban UK-backed private schools

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Kenyan teachers want the government to ban a chain of low-cost private primary and nursery schools, backed by Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Britain’s aid budget, after it faced criticism from a court in neighbouring Uganda for hiring unlicensed teachers.

Uganda’s high court on Friday ordered Bridge International Academies (BIA) to close 63 schools in the country for operating without a licence, having poor sanitation and for using unregistered and unlicensed teachers, the judgment said.

The company, founded by an American couple, started working in Uganda in 2015 after opening 405 schools in Kenya since 2009 that use an ‘Academy in a box’ model in which teachers read lessons from a tablet computer.

However, the fast-growing company has faced opposition from teachers unions in Kenya and Uganda, where it often hires staff who have not undergone government training to read scripted lessons, delivered via the internet.

“These academies should not be allowed to operate anywhere in third world countries,” said Wilson Sossion, secretary general of the Kenya National Union of Teachers, adding that his union will release a report criticising BIA in December.

“We want to believe that will open the eyes of the government of Kenya to move a step further to close down Bridge schools.”

Source: Thomas Reuters Foundation News (link opens in a new window)

rural development