EI urges Pearson, The World Bank and DFID UK to stop supporting Bridge International

published 18 June 2018 updated 30 April 2021

In letters addressed to the leaders of the Pearson, The World Bank and the Department for International Development (DfID) of the United Kingdom, Education International urged the organizations to stop their sponsorship of Bridge International Academies, a for-profit school chain with operations in Africa and Asia.

The letters come in light of a recent ruling from a high court in Uganda, which found that Bridge International Academies (BIA) deliberately set up illegal operations in the country with blatant disregard for national laws and regulations.

The order came after Bridge was ordered to close its facilities for unsanitary conditions and other issues related to curricula and staff qualifications. The company ignored the order and the attempts by the Ugandan government to enforce minimum education requirements. (Full ruling here)

Despite this illegal behavior in Uganda, and a similar situation in Kenya, Bridge continues to receive the support of these three influential international organizations.

"Your blind support for Bridge International Academies is irresponsible to say the least. In fact, it could be asserted that through your continuing support you are in effect complicit in the illegal operations of Bridge International Academies," states EI's General Secretary, David Edwards in the letters.

The U.S. based multinational has a chain of for profit, private schools targeting poor families in an increasing number of African and Asian countries. It uses unqualified teaching staff, who deliver pre-determined content from a tablet to fee paying students.

Pearson, the world's leading education company is invested in Bridge and supports its operations worldwide. UK's Department for International Development has funneled millions of taxpayer monies to support Bridge in countries like Nigeria, where new research shows that the company is on average more expensive for parents, uses unqualified staff, has low standards for staff training and not concerned about inclusiveness and equality.

The World Bank has invested more than US$ 10 million in Bridge operations in Africa and is supporting the company's expansion elsewhere.

The letters which were sent in May, have not received an answer.

You can access the letters here: