Several ESCR-Net members call on investors to cease support for Bridge International Academies

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Several ESCR-Net Members with the coordination of Initiative for Economic and Social Rights (ISER) and Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR), among 174 civil society organizations, endorsed a statement calling on investors to cease support for Bridge International Academies. This company runs over 500 commercial private schools in the Global South with the support of international donors and investors, however, there are many concerns regarding its operations.

In May 2015, 116 organizations had published a statement raising concerns about misleading facts regarding the costs and quality of Bridge schools. Since then, evidence from various sources have confirmed those concerns and raised the alarm about the serious gap between the promises of Bridge and the reality of their practice, once again.

The new statement lists mounting concurring evidence and analysis published in the last two years that raise grave concerns regarding Bridge’s transparency, relationship with governments, labor conditions, and breach of educational standards. It highlights the cases of Uganda and Kenya where Bridge has operated schools illegally and failed until now to adhere to national education standards. In both countries Bridge schools have been ordered to close schools by the authorities. The statement outlines how Bridge fails to reach the most disadvantaged it claims to serve due to high costs, as well as negative impacts on families who were accessing the schools.

The organizations signing the statement are therefore calling on investors and donors to fully discharge due diligence obligations and cease support for Bridge. The organizations cite a number of other recommendations in the statement on compliance with national laws and standards, transparency, accountability, treatment of civil society and redirection of funds to programs that promote equity in education.

Please read the full statement here.