Education International
Education International


published 22 December 2016 updated 4 January 2017

Bridge International Academies shut down in Uganda

On 4 November, Uganda’s High Court ordered the immediate closure of more than 60 Bridge International Academies (Bridge), a decision in line with the government’s determination announced on 8 August. The government’s decision to close Bridge was preceded by a parliamentary intervention in July by Uganda National Teachers’ Union President and Member of Parliament Margaret Rwabushaija Namubiru. She described Bridge’s failure to respect minimum national standards, including the employment of qualified teachers, the delivery of a curriculum in accordance with national requirements in educational premises and facilities satisfying national school infrastructure and safety standards.

Bridge’s practices in Uganda are documented in EI’s research, Schooling the Poor Profitably, released on 5 October. A statement by the Ugandan Ministry following the High Court’s decision can be found here.

Meeting on teacher policies and standards in Zimbabwe

The EI regional office for Africa (EIRAF) participated in a meeting on teacher policies and standards for Southern Africa, from 24-25 October. The meeting, held in Harare, was convened by the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa and the Southern African Development Community. It was attended by senior education ministry officials and personnel from teachers’ training institutions from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. Standards and strategies to accelerate the development of teacher policies were identified.

Richard Etonu took part for EI.

Development cooperation review in Zanzibar

The EIRAF was part of the midterm review of the development cooperation between the Zanzibar Teachers’ Union (ZATU), the Lärarförbundet (Sweden), and the Danish Union of Teachers (DLF). At the meeting, held from 16-19 November, ZATU’s significant growth in membership and leadership skills since the development cooperation process began in 2004 was outlined. This cooperation will end with DLF in 2017 and with Lärarförbundet in 2018.

Richard Etonu took part for EI.

15th Conference of the Comité Syndical Francophone de l’Education et de la Formation in Madagascar

Education unions from 30 Francophone countries convened in Antananarivo, Madagascar, from 14-16 November, for the 15th Conference of the Comité Syndical Francophone de l’Education et de la Formation(CSFEF). The conference, which was part of the official programme of the Summit of the International Francophone Organisation, explored issues such as:

·         Access to quality education for all

·         The contribution of education unions to the implementation of SDG 4

·         The development of technical and vocational education and training in Francophone countries

·         The outcomes of a study on academic achievement in primary education conducted by the Conference of Education ministers of the Francophonie’s states and governments in 11 sub-Saharan countries

·         Responsible development in all French-speaking countries in general and in Madagascar in particular

Duncan Smith took part for EI.

2nd ResNet Africa in Ghana

From 17-19 November, around 45 African union representatives met in Accra for the 2nd African Research Network meeting organised by the EI Education and Employment and Research Unit and the EIRAF. The meeting highlighted how research should be an integral part of union policies and advocacy strategies. The importance of gathering evidence arose in a discussion on common challenges related to terms of employment in Africa and how they could be addressed in a related policy brief as mandated by Congress. The EI Research Unit distributed a research toolkit and highlighted the EI baseline for terms of employment policy. Equipped with the tools and theory, affiliates prepared research proposals relevant to their organisation, and were invited to apply for EI research funding.

Bridge International Academies exposed in Kenya

On 5 December, the latest study on the commercialisation and privatisation of education, produced by EI and the Kenyan National Union of Teachers (KNUT), was launched in Nairobi. Bridge vs Reality: a study of Bridge International Academies’ for-profit schooling in Kenya uncovers the reality behind the private for-profit provider’s claims to offer ‘affordable’ education. It sheds light on the impact of this Pearson, World Bank, DfID-UK, Zuckerberg and Gates-supported global corporate actor on the right to free quality education for all.

The video presenting the gap between Bridge’s claims and reality, formally launched at the event, can be viewed here.

AWEN Review and Planning Meeting 2016 in Rwanda

The annual review and planning meeting of the African Women in Education Network (AWEN) took place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 5-9 December. The meeting was attended by members of the AWEN Advisory Committee, the Chief Regional Coordinator and AWEN programme officer, as well as representatives from the supporting EI member organisations from Canada, Norway and Sweden. The meeting evaluated 2016 sub-regional network activities, agreed on a strategic approach for 2017-2019, planned activities over three years (2017-2019), and developed participants’ capacity to use a Results-Based Management (RBM) approach to planning.

With support from the partners and EI, the AWEN advisory committee agreed on their main strategic priorities and understood the need for more results-focused planning, evaluation and monitoring of activities. A timeline was agreed to ensure that the AWEN Partnership agreement is signed in a timely manner in January 2017.