01 August 2017

(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 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

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.

• Civil society call on investors of Bridge Academies: http://bit.ly/biainvestors
• Letter from the UK Parliament: http://bit.ly/2ql2pa6
• More information about Bridge International Academies: http://bit.ly/commerceduc
• 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: linda.oduornoah@gmail.com / +254701670090
• Chikezie Anyanwu, Global Co-ordinator, Global Campaign for Education:
chikezie@campaignforeducation.org / +27 11 447 4111
List of signatories

Organisation and Country
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)
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 (CNEPT/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 FENRADNIGERIA 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
117. Nadi Ghati Morcha India
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 EPTAngola) 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 ePríncipe (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 (ONGRADEB) 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 (ONGREPRODEVH 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
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