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Zuckerberg-Backed Bridge Schools Defy Gov’t, Re-Open

In Uganda, 63 schools run by the Bridge International Academies, a private chain, have opened for the new academic year, the BBC reports.

This is despite the government’s previous insistence that the schools will remain shut.

Bridge academies – supported by foundations such as those set up by Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates – have established themselves in poor communities in several African countries, where they take in children who have not got into public schools for comparatively modest fees.

Bridge International has incorporated technology to help teachers assess pupils

But a dispute between Bridge and Uganda’s education ministry threatened the project over various issues, including the academies’ policy of employing teaching assistants rather than fully trained teachers.

The schools were first threatened with closure in 2016, following an order from the high court.

The ministry accused them of teaching without a proper curriculum, substandard school structures and an unsanitary environment.

But Bridge says they have made efforts to comply with government regulations.

Its Ugandan country director says that endorsements from local councils, environmental impact assessments and health department certificates have all been submitted to the ministry, as required.

Even though the schools have been allowed to re-open, licenses for them to operate have still not been issued.

An education ministry official told the BBC that the schools remained illegal because they had not met all the requirements.

As they start a new school year, 14,000 students in Bridge academies across the country fear the dispute could still disrupt their education


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