In early August the Ugandan minister of education and sports, Janet Museveni, formally announced the closure of 63 nursery and primary schools operated by the largest chain of commercial private schools worldwide, Bridge International Academies (BIA). BIA is backed by private education services provider Pearson and the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (see Observer Summer 2016, Summer 2015). BIA runs over 450 schools in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and soon Liberia and India. The minister stated that the decision to close BIA schools was based on “danger from poor hygiene and sanitation on the life and safety of the innocent children”. The Uganda National Teachers’ Union commended the minister in Ugandan newspaper New Vision on “the bold stand she has taken towards promoting quality education … over [BIA’s] non-compliance to the basic requirements and standards”.
According to NGO Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights the decision “is also relevant for its neighbour, Kenya, where BIA has the largest number of schools. A few months ago, the Kenyan government halted the development of Bridge schools over similar allegations that the company was not respecting minimum national educational standards.”