The Ministry of Education and Sports has confirmed that none of the Bridge Schools have been licensed because they have not yet met the requirements to operate in Uganda.
In a statement dated February 6, Education Permanent Secretary Alex Kakooza said, “Bridge Schools remain unlicensed and like all the others in this category, will not be permitted to open/operate this school year (2018).”
PRESS STATEMENT IN FULL
Management of Bridge Schools (formerly Bridge International Academies) has embarked on an aggressive public and social media campaign aimed at hoodwinking unsuspecting parents about the status of the 63 Bridge Schools in Uganda.
Please note that the Ministry has not yet licensed the Bridge Schools because they have not yet met the requirements to merit being licensed to operate in Uganda.
It may be recalled that since April 2016, the Ministry has severally engaged with Bridge International Academies’ (BIA) representatives over public outcry on the state of these schools in Uganda. These concerns, together with the Resolution of Parliament to halt BIA’s activities pending comprehensive investigations, included:
i. Safety and security of pupils;
ii. Failure to meet the requirements for Bridge Schools to be licensed as International Schools including submitting (i) a letter of accreditation from an international examining body confirming the curriculum to be offered; (ii) inspection reports from the international body/Local Government where the schools are located and from the Directorate of Education Standards (DES); (iii) the letter of protocol from the relevant Embassy; and (iv) a list of qualified teachers; and
iii. The fact that normal/ordinary schools cannot be licensed as academies.
These engagements culminated into face-to-face discussions with the Ministry on 8th August 2017 when preliminary findings on the above concerns were shared with Bridge representatives.
Consequently, and consistent with the Ministry’s decision on the matter of all unlicensed schools, I wrote to BIA on 6th November 2017 stating that:
… all unlicensed schools, including Bridge International Academies, will not be allowed to open and/or operate for school year 2018. This position is in line with my Circular/Press Release No. DES/50/14 of 22nd September 2017 captioned Unlicensed/Unregistered Schools.
As the long December 2017-January 2018 holiday was coming to an end, and in response to correspondence from BIA, I again wrote to Mr. Morrison Rwakakamba, BIA Country Director, on 19th January 2018 as follows:
… no unlicensed school will be allowed to operate in the coming school year, which begins on Monday 5th February 2018. This position was clearly put to you vide mine of 6th November 2017 and has not changed.
This letter, therefore, serves to eliminate any doubt and accordingly advise that you follow up your application(s) for licensing with the relevant Ministry authorities, to wit Commissioner Basic Education, who if satisfied that your schools comply with the Basic Minimum Requirements and Standards, will do the needful.
My letter was reinforced by Dr. Daniel Nkaada, Commissioner Basic Education, on 29th January 2018 in response to letters by Mr. Rwakakamba dated 22nd and 24th January 2018. Dr. Nkaada cautioned BIA not to feed its clients with “false hope”, because the numerous discussions with the Ministry remained inconclusive to the extent the minimum licensing requirements had not yet been met by the 63 Bridge Schools. Besides, incomplete files had been received for only 48 Schools.
It is important to recall that in its April 2017 Report to Parliament, the Committee on Education and Sports presented findings of its independent investigation of schools that the Ministry earmarked for closure for contravention of the Law, including the Bridge Schools. The Education and Sports Committee of Parliament concurred with the Ministry’s decision to close the affected schools.
This same position was re-confirmed last week in a Ruling by the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament on Thursday 1st February 2018 when attempts were made to block the closure of the targeted 1,300 schools that do not meet the minimum operating standardsby the Ministry. This attempt was made notwithstanding the fact that the proprietors of these kind of schools have now had over a year to address the identified gaps!
In view of the above, and specifically of the engagement between the Ministry of Education and Sports and Management of Bridge Schools, parents and indeed all concerned authorities are accordingly notified that Bridge Schools remain unlicensed and like all the others in this category, will not be permitted to open/operate this school year (2018).
Failure to comply with the requirements of the Law, implies that parents and Management of the Bridge Schools take full responsibility for the consequences of non-compliance.