The management of Bridge International Schools has refuted claims by the Uganda National Teachers Union that their schools have failed to safeguard pupils’ rights and ensure minimum educational standards.
According to Bridge International Academy (BIA) Country Director Morrison Rwakakamba says the UNATU claim is baseless given that they have ensured that their schools have hygiene and security among other precautions of having a conducive learning environment for the children.
Further, Mr. Rwakakamba, said the BIA management has followed all the procedures laid by the ministry of education in running their schools, a development he said, has helped children from poor families access quality education at the lowest fees charged by a private primary school.
He also said that in last Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), all candidates in Bridge schools passed to join secondary school.
Mr. Rwakakamba’s remarks come in the wake of UNATU Acting General Secretary Philip Duluga Buni backing the Ministry of Education and Sports’ decision to halt the operations of BIAs.
According to Mr. Buni, the BIAs ‘seek to profit off children, exploiting the hopes and dreams of their families’.
“Contrary to claims of affordable education, an average family in Uganda would have to spend about half of its income to send two children to a Bridge School,” Mr Buni said, but failed to prove how UNATU arrived at the conclusion.
Mr. Buni further accused BIA in Uganda and other private schools of ‘disregarding the Education Act 2008’ which among others stipulates that schools should hire qualified and registered teachers.
Mr. Buni also urged funders of schools like BIAs to shift their support to public schools. “UNATU appeals to companies and individuals funding profit oriented organizations such as BIA to cease such support. Should you wish to support the provision of quality education in Uganda, you are advised to instead support our public education system-Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education among others,” he says.
But contacted, an influential retired educationist-turned-consultant said it is wrong for Mr. Buni to have a negative attitude towards private schools in Uganda.
“They (private schools) have helped government educate most Ugandans. Tell me where would pupils left out of government education system go if private schools were not there?” he asked, preferring to remain anonymous.