174 organisations call investors to cease support to Bridge International Academies


174 organisations worldwide call investors to cease support to American chain of schools Bridge International Academies

(Nairobi, Kampala, Monrovia, Johannesburg, 1st August 2017) 174 civil society organisations from around the world have today released a statement calling on investors to cease support for Bridge International Academies, a company running over 500 commercial private schools in the Global South with the support of international donors and investors.  

This statement comes two years after a similar one that was addressed to the World Bank. It has been signed by a broad range of organisations from 50 different countries, including human rights, development, community-based, and faith-based organisations, as well as trade unions, demonstrating increasing, broad-based, and large-scale concerns regarding the operations of Bridge Academies.

The statement lists mounting concurring evidence and analysis published in the last two years, including independent journalist inquiries, that raise grave concerns regarding Bridge’s transparency, relationship with governments, labour 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 quality of Bridge schools has not been independently assessed. In any case, any claimed gains in learning outcomes could never justify the shocking practices that have been documented in this statement. What can justify for instance the treatment of unlicensed, unregistered teachers being denied a living wage while working over 60 hours work per week?’ reacted Linda Oduor-Noah, from the East African Centre for Human Rights, in Kenya.

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. One study found that between 69 and 83 per cent of Bridge parents had difficulty in paying rent, providing food or accessing healthcare due to high school fees.

Rather than the 6 USD per month as claimed by the company, the total costs to attend a Bridge school are closer to 20 USD per month. Not only are such costs unreachable by a large part of the population of our countries where Bridge operates, but their announced fee is misleading’, said Salima Namusobya, from the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights, in Uganda.

The document also underscores Bridge’s resistance to public scrutiny and attempts to limit transparency, building on the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee’s recent letter to the Secretary of State, which also raised this issue.

We’ve seen how in Liberia, Bridge, which is part of a public-private partnership arrangement with the State, has operated in total secrecy, challenging public procurement rules and undermining independent assessment of its operation by civil society. This confirms the trend in other countries, where Bridge has been involved in the arrest of an independent researcher, the silencing of unions, resistance to assessment, and more. This is a global education company shrouded in secrecy and hiding, and this is extremely worrying’, added Anderson Miamen, from the Liberia Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education.

The organisations signing the statement are therefore calling on investors and donors to fully discharge due diligence obligations and cease support for Bridge. The organisations 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.

‘It is important to recognise that most investors are genuinely seeking to make a difference in the lives of children living in poverty. We share these concerns and recognise the need for major improvements in education. However, there is now significant evidence that investing in Bridge is not an effective way to improve access, equity and quality in education which should be the aim of any education initiative targeting the most disadvantaged. We would welcome an opportunity to explore alternatives with donors and investors, to identify more effective ways to invest sustainably in providing quality education for all children living in poverty;’ concluded Chikezie Anyanwu, from the Global Campaign for Education.

This latest statement follows repeatedly raised concerns about the fast-paced and unregulated growth of certain private education providers, in particular commercial ones, such as Bridge. In May 2015, 116 organisations had published a statement raising concerns about misleading facts regarding the costs and quality of Bridge schools. Since then, evidence from various sources and presented in the statement, including the UN, a UK parliamentary report, independent research reports, and independent media reports, have confirmed those concerns and raised the alarm about the serious gap between the promises of Bridge and the reality of their practice.




  • Salima Namusobya, Executive Director, Initiative for Economic and Social Rights (ISER), Uganda: snamusobya@gmail.com / +256 414581041

  • Anderson Miamen, National Coordinator, Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE), Liberia: admiamen2@gmail.com / +231 776 391 481

  • Linda Oduor-Noah, Project Manager, East African Centre for Human Rights (EACHRights), Kenya: oduornoah@gmail.com / +254701670090

  • Chikezie Anyanwu, Global Co-ordinator, Global Campaign for Education: chikezie@campaignforeducation.org / +27 11 447 4111

  • Sylvain Aubry, Legal and Research Advisor, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR): sylvain@globalinitiative-escr.org / +254 7 88 28 96 34


1.       Action Contre la Pauvreté (ACP), Burundi

2.       Action Jeunesse et Environnement (AJE), International

3.       ActionAid Brazil, Brazil

4.       ActionAid International, International

5.       ActionAid Liberia, Liberia

6.       ActionAid Uganda, Uganda

7.       Africa Network Campaign on Education For All (ANCEFA), International

8.       Aide et Action, International

9.       AKS, Austria

10.   Amnesty International, International

11.   Amnesty International Kenya, Kenya

12.   Amnesty International Sénégal, Senegal

13.   Antarctic, Democratic Republic of Congo

14.   Appel pour une école démocratique (Aped), Belgium

15.   Ashroy Foundation, Bangladesh

16.   ASO EPT Niger, Niger

17.   Associação Nacional de Pesquisadores em Financiamento da Educação (Fineduca), Brazil

18.   Association AMONTANA, Madagascar

19.   Association Camerounaise Pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme des Libertés et du bien être (ACADEHLIB), Cameroon

20.   Association d'Aide et de Protection des Personnes vulnerables, Democratic Republic of Congo

21.   Association des Amis du Belvédère, Tunisia

22.   Association des Personnes Handicapées Motivées de Tône (APHMOTO), Togo

23.   Association femmes pour l’ egalité et la démocratie, Morocco

24.   Association Française Pour un Enseignement Ambitieux et Humaniste (AFPEAH), France

25.   Association graine de paix, Algeria

26.   Association Initiative Urbaine, Morocco

27.   Association Rechida pour l"environnementet développement, Morocco

28.   Association Tunisienne des Jeunes et Développement, Tunisia

29.   Ayuda en Acción, International

30.   Both ENDS, International

31.   Bretton Woods Project, United Kingdom

32.   Cameroon Education For All Network, Cameroon

33.   Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), Bangladesh

34.   Campaña Argentina por el Derecho a la Educación (CADE), Argentina

35.   Campaña Latinoamericana por el Derecho a la Educación (CLADE), International

36.   Campaña Peruana por el Derecho a la Educación (CPDE), Peru

37.   Campanha Brasileira pelo Direito à Educação, Brazil

38.   Carrefour de la famille marocaine, Morocco

39.   CEMEA Sénégal, Senegal

40.   Centre d'Actions pour la Sécurité Alimentaire et le Développement Durable (CASAD-Bénin), Benin

41.   Centre d'Encadrement des personnes opprimées, Democratic Republic of Congo

42.   Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, South Africa

43.   Centre for Equity and Quality in Universal Education, India

44.   Centres d'Entrainement aux Méthodes d'Education Active (CEMEA), France

45.   Centro de Cultura Luiz Freire (CCLF), Brazil

46.   Centro de Defesa da Criança e do Adolescente (CEDECA/Ceará), Brazil

47.   Centro de Estudos Educação e Sociedade (CEDES – Unicamp), Brazil

48.   Centro de Investigación, Planeación y Evaluación (CIPE Consultores), Honduras

49.   Child Rights International Network (CRIN), International

50.   Civil Society Action on Education for All (CSACEFA), Nigeria

51.   Civil Society and Trade Union Institutions of Liberia (CTIL),Liberia

52.   Coalición Española de la Campaña Mundial por la Educación, Spain

53.   Coalition des organisations en synergie pour la défense de l’éducation publique (COSYDEP), Senegal

54.   Coalition des organisations mauritaniennes pour l'éducation (COMEDUC), Mauritania

55.   Coalition Education, France

56.   Coalition Education Pour Tous BAFASHEBIGE, Burundi

57.   Coalition for Educational Developpment, Sri Lanka

58.   Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education, Liberia

59.   Coalition Nationale de l'Education Pour Tous en République Démocratique du Congo (CONEPT RDC), Democratic Republic of Congo

60.   Coalition nationale de Madagascar pour l'éducation accessible et inclusive (CONAMEPT), Madagascar

61.   Coalition Nationale pour l’Education Pour Tous - Burkina Faso (CN-EPT/BURKINA), Burkina Faso

62.   Comité National de Développement des Réseaux pour l'Education en Afrique de l'Ouest (CNDREAO), Senegal

63.   Comité Syndical Francophone de l'Education et de la Formation (CSFEF), International

64.   Construisons Ensemble le Monde, Democratic Republic of Congo

65.   Corner House, United Kingdom

66.   Counter Balance, Belgium

67.   CSC-Enseignement, Belgium

68.   Défense des enfants International Belgique, International

69.   DEL PEP 21, France

70.   East African Centre for Human Rights (EACHRights), Kenya

71.   Economic & Social Rights Centre (Hakijamii), Kenya

72.   Edugestion Cameroun, Cameroon

73.   Environnement et Progrès ASBL, Belgium

74.   Equal Education Law Centre, South Africa

75.   Fédération Camerounaise des Syndicats de l'Education (FECASE), Cameroon

76.   Femmes unies pour le développement, Democratic Republic of Congo

77.   Fonds voor OntwikkelingsSamenwerking (FOS), International

78.   Foro Dakar Honduras, Honduras

79.   Foro por el Derecho a la Educación de Chile, Chile

80.   Forum for Education NGOs in Uganda (FENU), Uganda

81.   Foundation For Environmental Rights,Advocacy & Development FENRAD-NIGERIA, Nigeria

82.   Franciscans International, International

83.   Fundación Manatí para el Fomento de Ciudadanía A.C., Mexico

84.   Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition, Ghana

85.   Global Campaign for Education, International

86.   Global Campaign for Education - US, United States

87.   Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR), International

88.   Global Justice Now, United Kingdom

89.   Global Peace and Development Organization, Liberia

90.   Government Teachers' Union, île Maurice

91.   Grupo de Estudio Sobre Educación en Cárceles (GESEC), Argentina

92.   Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisas em Política Educacional (GREPPE), Brazil

93.   Homabay county education network, Kenya

94.   Homabay county paralegal, Kenya

95.   Human Dignity, International

96.   Idealoga, Intervención Comunitaria S.Coop.Mad, Spain

97.   Incidencia Civil en Educación (ICE), Mexico

98.   Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), Uganda

99.   Initiative For Women  Empowerement & Development(IWED), Nigeria

100. International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF), International

101. Jeunes et Femmes pour les droits de l'homme et la paix (J.F.D.HO.P), Democratic Republic of Congo

102.  Jeunesse et Emplois Verts pour une Economie Verte (ONG JEVEV), Bénin

103. Just Fair, United Kingdom

104.  Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Kenya

105.   Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Kenya

106.  Kisora, Kenya

107.  Kisumu county education network, Kenya

108.  Labour,Health and Human Rights Development Centre, Nigeria

109.  Les Anges Du Ciel, Democratic Republic of Congo

110.  Ligue des Droits de l'Enfant, Belgium

111.   Lumiere Synergie pour le Développement, Senegal

112.   Mathare Association, Kenya

113.  Migori county education network, Kenya

114.  Mouvement Anfass Démocratique, Morocco

115. Mouvement politique des objecteurs de croissance, Belgium

116.  Movimento de Educação para Todos (MEPT – Moçambique), Mozambique

118.  Nadi Ghati Morcha, India

119.  National Campaign for Education Nepal, Nepal

120.  National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL), Liberia

121. Natural Resources Alliance of Kenya, Kenya

122. Nepal National Teachers Association, Nepal

123. Network for Public Education, United States

124. NGO Education Partnership, Cambodia

125. Organisation Democratique du Travail, Morocco

126. Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU), International

127. Oxford Human Rights Hub, United Kingdom

128. Pakistan Coalition for Education, Pakistan

129. Planète Urgence, International

130. PNG Education Advocacy Network (PEAN), Papua New Guinea

131. Prayatn Sanstha, India

132. Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE), United States

133. Public Services International, International

134. Red de Educación Popular Entre Mujeres de Latinoamérica y el Caribe (REPEM), Latin America and Caribbean

135. Rede Angolana da Sociedade Civil de Educação para Todos (Rede EPT-Angola), Angola

136. Rede da Campanha de Educação para Todos – Guiné-Bissau (RECEPT-GB), Guiné-Bissau

137. Rede Nacional da Campanha de Educação para Todos de São Tomé e Príncipe (RNEPT-STP),São Tomé and Príncipe

138. ReLus - Lusophone Network for the Right to Education, International

139. Rencontre pour la Paix et les Droits de l'Homme (RPDH), Republic of Congo

140. Réseau des Acteurs de Développement de l’Education au Bénin (ONG RADEB), Benin

141. Réseau des Organisations pour le Développement de l'Education au Burkina (RODEB), Burkina Faso

142. Réseau Ivoirien Pour la Promotion de l'Education Pour tous, Cote d'Ivoire

143. Réseau Marocain pour la Defense du Droit à la Santé - Droit à la vie, Morocco

144. Réseau Pour le Développement de l'Education au Niger (RESDEN), Niger

145. Réseau progrès et développement humanitaire du Niger (ONG REPRODEVH NIGER), Niger

146. RESULTS Education Fund, International

147.  Right to Education Forum (India), India

148. Right to Education Forum Jharkhand, India

149. Right to Education Initiative, International

150. Shala Mitra sangh, India

151.  Siaya county education network, Kenya

152. Sikshasandhan, India

153. Society for International Development (SID), International

154. Society for People's Awareness (SPAN), India

155. Solidarité Laïque, France and International

156. SOLIDARITE-UNAFETPCI (Union Nationale des Formateurs de l'Enseignement Technique et Professionnel de Côte d'Ivoire), Côte d'Ivoire

157. Star of the lake CBO, Kenya

158. StopTFF, France

159. Sudanese Coalition for Education for All, Sudan

160. Sustaining Continuity in Education Foundation, Nigeria

161. Syndicat des Enseignants Romands, Switzerland

162. Syndicat des Travailleurs des Etablissements Privés du Cameroun (SYNTESPRIC), Cameroon

163. Syndicat général de l'éducation nationale - Fédération (Sgen-CFDT), France

164. Syndicat général de l'enseignement de base (SGEB), Tunisia

165. Syndicat National Autonome de l'Enseignement Secondaire, Cameroon

166. Syndicat national de l'enseignement supérieur Fédération syndicale unitaire (SNESUP-FSU), France

167. Syndicat National des Agents de la Formation et de l'Education du Niger (SYNAFEN -NIGER), Niger

168. Syndicat National des Formateurs de l'Enseignement Technique et de la Formation Progessionnelle (SYNAFETP-CI), Côte d'Ivoire

169. The Kairos Center for Relgions, Rights and Social Justice, United States

170. Union Nationale des Normaliens/Normaliennes et Educateurs/Educatrices d'Haïti (UNNOEH), Haiti

171. UNISON, United Kingdom

172. Unnati Institute for Social and Educational Change, India

173. Yemeni Coalition for Education for All, Yemen

174. Youth Progressive Association in Taraba, Nigeria