Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education [COTAE], has called on the Education Ministry to terminate their partnership with Bridge International, over alleged bad labor practice.
According to the National Coordinator, Anderson Miamen, “BIA” has allegedly done more harm than good for Liberia’s Education Sector.
At a news conference on Monday, June 8, 2020, Mr. Miamen claimed that company prioritizes profit over quality and fulfillment of the right to education of all Liberian children have no place in the Liberian Education sector.
He told reporters that anything to the contrary to their recommendation will suggest that the Ministry of Education sanctions poor treatment of Liberians by Bridge and its largely profit-oriented operation in the Country which is at the expense of the struggling education sector of Liberia.
Additionally, the group through its head also called on the Ministry of Education to ensure that its current and future policies and programs meet human rights standards including the recently adopted Abidjan Principles on the Right to Education.
The Abidjan Principles, among other things, requires that the government focuses on strengthening public Education and should a partnership be developed, it must be done without commercial actors and in accordance with the rule of law.
Moreover, Mr. Miamen urged stakeholders in the sector to independently monitor and timely report on respect of the right to education at all private and public schools across the Country, especially those awarded to Bridge International and other public education in Liberia thus undermining the right to education of all citizens.
“We remain committed to supporting holistic and sustainable efforts to improve the Liberian Education system and not one that commercializes public education and create more mess in the sector,” he noted.
It can be recalled that BIA’s involvement has been debated since the outset of its operation in Liberia initially intended to singlehandedly take over all public primary schools in the country; something that generated local, regional and global outcries including Civil Society Groups, Teachers, Parents and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education in 2017.
At the same time, an independent evaluation commission by the Government of Liberia further raised concerns by showing that the company’s cost was very high while not delivering results at the level of this cost and that it expelled children and teachers, Anderson pointed out.
Bridge International, is an American company that also operates in Kenya and Uganda, where it has similarly been denounced for its alleged poor labor practices and lack of respect for the rule of law. A situation which led a group of Kenyan citizens to file a complaint to the World Bank’s accountability body; Compliance Advisory Ombudsman in 2018.