[updated 25/01] Court upholds Uganda’s Ministry of Education’s order to close BIA schools

On Friday 4th November, Bridge International Academies’ (BIA) court case in Uganda relating to the closure of Bridge schools was dismissed with costs.  Bridge International Academies had previously secured a temporary court injunction against the Ministry of Education’s order to close their schools until the ruling of the decision.  The Ministry had ordered for the closure of BIA schools on the ground that they are unlicensed and below minimum standards. The injunction was lifted on the 4th November and BIA’s application dismissed with costs. Bridge International Academies will  have to close its schools in Uganda, if the government maintains their decision to have them closed. Following the judgement Bridge filed a notice of appeal,  the High Court has granted a stay of execution allowing all Bridge schools to remain open until 8th December.

The multinational company has other cases pending, notably in Busia county, Kenya, where the County Education board has issued an order to close all BIA schools in the county as they are unregistered and fail to meet the required minimum standards. The first hearing took place on Friday 4th November and a ruling has been scheduled for 30th November.

More information will be available soon concerning these cases, and the pages in this website will be regularly updated.

Updates 

For press statements, see http://bit.ly/2aNxoZc

  • 25 January: Government announces unregistered private schools will not be allowed to open for first term: http://bit.ly/2krm35d
  • 16 November: In a press release Bridge has stated they been granted a stay of execution allowing for all 63 of their schools to remain open until 8th December, notice of appeal has been filed by the company : http://bit.ly/2fweaW1
  • 16 November: Legal Brains Trust Ltd have taken legal action against Bridge, suing them at the High Court Civil Division with the accusation that managers deliberately disobeyed the general education policy and laws of Uganda: http://bit.ly/2fF8WrQ 
  • 15 November: The Minister of Education and Sports has issued a press release in the New Vision asking parents to put their children in other schools and for local authorities to find alternative schools of parents’ choice : http://bit.ly/2fTPquzminofeducanov15-704x435
  • 14 November: Parents and children have been asking to be reimbursed their fees: http://bit.ly/2gcYfjy
  • 11 November: the government closes two Bridge schools  : http://bit.ly/2fGXhvj
  • 9 November: the Government of Uganda announced that “this situation, following several reminders, led the Ministry to invoke section 33 (4) of the Education Act 2008, to close Bridge International Academy” and “The Chief Administrative Officers in the district’s where these “schools” are located, the IGP, the Director Education Standards, all town clerks, all Municipal Education Officers, all District inspectors of schools, all DEO’s and Parents are informed and requested to make arrangements to have these children from these schools absorbed into the nearest UPE schools.” http://bit.ly/2eVg967  
  • 7th November: Following the decision there have been a few instances of Bridge organised protests against the closure, including by organising children: http://bit.ly/2fOcKuW
  • 4th November: It appears that the Ugandan Ministry of Education has asked for  Bridge schools to be closed on Monday 7th November: https://twitter.com/cathkemi/status/794449903091060737.
  • 4th November: In a press release Bridge announced that it would appeal the Court decision: http://bit.ly/2eeyBul

More information 

  • The High Court ruling upholding the order for closure of BIA schools in Uganda can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2ftsYIy 
  • For background information on the known court cases where Bridge Academies is a party, see the following information brief: http://bit.ly/2naXJ6b  
  • Human rights bodies statements related to States’ obligations with regards to Bridge International Academies: http://bit.ly/2fXvM11
  • For media coverage of BIA’s closure in Uganda, see: http://bit.ly/2aNxoZc
  • For our monitoring page on commercial schools and the right to education, see: http://bit.ly/commerceduc
  • To remain informed about key developments on private actors and the right to education, sign up to our mailing list: http://bit.ly/privatnews

Categories Right to education | Tags: | Posted on November 15, 2016

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