Bridge International Academies is on the spot for allegedly flouting the minimum operating standards. The academy, which has 63 branches across the country and more than 3000 pupils, is being accused of using unqualified teachers and teaching a syllabus that neither conforms to the national nor international standards.
As a result, the Education and Sports Ministry has ordered the academy not to open any new branch in the country. The ministry is also investigating claims that the academy is teaching unregulated curriculum using untrained teachers.
Patrick Muinda Emmanuel, the Education Ministry spokesperson says the academy got permission to open a single academy but went ahead to open other centers.
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Muinda also says they have written to all districts where the academy operates to investigate the allegations and report to the Education Ministry by end of next week before a final decision is made.
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James Tweheyo, the General Secretary of the Uganda National Teachers' Union and also a board member of Education International, says Bridge International Academy has bad intentions. He says the teachers in the schools are like robots because they are controlled from Nairobi and many do not know what they are teaching pupils;
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Tweheyo says they will not sit quiet and see the quality of education compromised by people who do not care about the country;
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Juliet Wajega Sasagah, the Deputy General Secretary in charge of programmes at UNATU says the decision by the academy to recruit untrained teachers is dangerous. She says if allowed to continue, such practices will completely destroy the education sector in the country;
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The academy officials say their decision to recruit local people to teach and manage the schools is meant to empower the communities economically. Don Mulondo Mugerwa, the Customer Experience Officer for East Africa says they recruit the locals and train them before allowing them to teach. She says the content on then tablets is well packaged and easy to teach.
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Early this year, Education International, an umbrella organization of education unions and associations contracted Curtis Riep, a researcher from the University of Alberta to find out operations of the academy after receiving complaints that they were flouting the minimum standards.
The Academy officials ordered the police to arrest him, accusing him of impersonation and criminal trespass. He was released after Education International intervened.