Education International
Education International

Dutch government asked to explain backing of for-profit education

published 14 February 2017 updated 15 February 2017

Dutch socialist party MPs have asked their Ministry for Foreign Trade and Development to take a stance on its support of Bridge International Academies, one of the world’s biggest and most questioned edubusinesses.

Two members of the Dutch Parliament, Harry Van Bommel and Jasper van Dijk (both representatives of the Socialist Party), have sent written inquiries to the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development regarding the indirect support of their country’s government to Bridge International Academies.

The questions, sent to Lilianne Ploumen, in office since 2012, relate to investments made through the Dutch development budget, and specific programmes like the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) and Massif Fund to Bridge International Academies.

Van Bommel and van Dijk also question Ploumen about her stance towards Bridge Academies after the Ugandan government demanded and enforced the closure of its dependencies due to low standards, including unqualified teachers and poor sanitation.

The MPs’ letter also takes a step back and looks more broadly at the Dutch government’s political stance regarding the promotion of quality education: “Do you think it is justified to finance, directly or indirectly, for-profit education with public money?”, it asks.

Finally, it addresses the relationship between the promotion of quality public education (versus the promotion of for-profit private education) and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals – especially Goal Number 4 that aims to ensure free quality education for all by 2030. The MPs ask the Government to explain why it does or does not think that for-profit private education would hinder Goal 4 from becoming a reality.