30 March 2018
Today at its Annual Conference the National Education Union – NUT Section expressed its solidarity with the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and its Secretary General Wilson Sossion.
In 2017, ‘low-fee’ private school provider Bridge International Academies commenced defamation proceedings against the KNUT and its General Secretary, Wilson Sossion. On 20 February 2018, an application for an interim injunction against the KNUT and Mr Sossion, which was intended to bar them from publicly discussing the operations of Bridge, was dismissed. The substantive case is yet to be heard.
The UK’s CDC, which is owned entirely by the Department for International Development (DFID), and Pearson, among others, are supporting Bridge financially and politically. This is despite evidence of illegal behaviour, prohibitively expensive fees and poor quality teaching.
Commenting on the action by Conference, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT section of the National Education Union, said:
“We fight for high quality, free, public education for all both here and across the globe. Wilson’s fight against Bridge, a key player in the field of ‘low-fee’ private schools, is our fight too.
“The Kenyan court’s decision to dismiss this interim injunction against Wilson and the KNUT shows that we cannot, will not, and should not be silenced. We will continue to support our colleagues in Kenya as the substantive case unfolds.
“We will not stand by idly as profits are prioritised over students and their right to education is used as a source of income for private actors. We call on the Department for International Development and the CDC to cease all support for Bridge immediately.
“I am proud that our Union has been able to show our support to Wilson and the Kenya National Union of Teachers in such a public way.”
Bridge, formerly Bridge International Academies, is a chain of low-fee private schools operating mainly in Africa. The company was founded in 2008 by Americans Shannon May and Jay Kimmelman. Bridge has come under scrutiny by Civil Society for its relatively high fees, poor treatment of teachers, and status as a for-profit business.