Why UK is threatening to withdraw funding to low-cost private schools in Kenya,Uganda

There have been concerns about the quality of teaching as well as high cost of fees.

The UK government may withdraw funding to low-cost privates schools in Kenya and Uganda following a report from a group of UK MPs who visited the institutions.

The schools dubbed Bridge International Academies (BIA), and backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, offer cheap nursery and primary education to poor families in Kenya and Uganda.

The report states that some inspectors, particularly in Uganda, found that teaching facilities were "wanting" with "unsanitary conditions." They also acknowledged that "Bridge is a contentious partner."

In Kenya, the company’s operations are under threat owing “to an alleged lack of compliance with government regulations”.

Department for International Development's(DfID's) support of “low-fee private schools” is “controversial” and the report says “it is imperative that the Department fully reviews available evidence when considering future support for such initiatives”.

The report terms the quality of teaching in the school, supported by British aid money, as "variable and notably poor" in the Ugandan Bridge School. It is also says that "significant concerns have also been raised throughout the inquiry about the company’s relationships with country governments.”

There have also been concerns regarding the the high cost of fees in Bridge schools, which are also supported by British aid money.

The company operates in highly populated areas where school places are highly contested (for example Nairobi and Lagos) and “in these areas it is undoubtedly expanding access to education to certain children in its areas of operation,” the report says.


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