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Setback for privatisation in Uganda A chain of 87 for-profit nursery and primary schools operated by Bridge International Academies has been ordered to close by the Ugandan Parliament. The Uganda National Teachers Union has championed the case against for-profit schools. Bridge International is one of the largest for-profit education companies in the world and is financed to the tune of US$100 million by a conglomerate of donors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, education conglomerate Pearson Ltd, as well as the World Bank and the governments of the United Kingdom and United States. Despite such high-profile support, Bridge International has come under fierce criticism for applying a business model that uses public money to operate fee-charging schools that do not comply with the legal and educational standards of the Ugandan government. Education International, the worldwide federation of teacher unions, released an incriminating report on World Teachers’ Day last October titled Schooling the Poor Profitably: The Innovations and Deprivations of Bridge International Academies in Uganda.

Dropout rates can be as high as 60 per cent due to the high fees.

Eighty-seven for-profit nursery and primary schools are set to close.

It found that up to 90 per cent of Bridge International teachers are unlicensed and that its schools fail basic minimum standards for construction, putting the health and safety of students at risk. In addition, dropout rates can be as high as

60 per cent due to the high fees. The company has plans to sell its pre-programmed ‘academy-ina-box’ education services to 10 million fee-paying students in low-income communities throughout Africa and Asia by 2025.

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AU STRA L IA N ED U CATO R 92 SUM M E R 2 0 1 6 2 9

Educator summer 2016  

http://www.aeufederal.org.au/application/files/4214/8039/0683/Educator_Summer_2016.pdf