Kenya: African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights says govt.'s failure to regulate Bridge International Academies may compromise right to education

Author: The East African Centre for Human Rights (Kenya) & others, Published on: 13 November 2017

"African Commission raises concern about lack of regulation of Bridge International Academies"

In a report made available last week, the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) demanded that the Government of Kenya effectively enforce regulations in regard to the controversial American chain of private schools, Bridge International Academies, as a measure to guarantee quality education in Kenya. The ACHPR expressed concern over the “lack of monitoring and effective regulation of private school chains, such as Bridge International Academies”. The ACHPR was particularly concerned that Bridge schools “register as non-formal schools, whereas they appear to offer formal education”. This raises concerns on the compliance of Bridge International Academies with the protection of the right to education under Kenyan national law, including articles 43 and 53 of the Constitution as well as Sections 5 and 7 of the 2013 Basic Education Act.

Bridge runs over 400 schools in Kenya, whose legality has been questioned in the last month. A government document from July 2017 showed that most of these Bridge schools appear to not be registered, despite having been in operation for several years. In February, a court order allowed the county of Busia, in Western Kenya, to close 10 schools. In a similar move, a High Court order allowed in November 2016 the Government of Uganda to close all of the 63 Bridge International Academies in the country. The ACHPR report also urges the Kenyan Government to “ensure monitoring of Bridge International Academies regarding their system and methods of education”. Linda Oduor Noah of EACHRights commented: “We’ve repeatedly raised concerns about the lack of transparency and potential illegalities of the operations of Bridge Academies, and the attempt to make profit from marginalised and underprivileged children in Kenya. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ rights has rightly noted that this is a major human rights concern and a violation of the rights of children to quality education in Kenya, and we hope that the Government will take action to protect our children.”

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Related companies: Bridge International Academies