Several civil society several reports have raised major concerns on BIA, including on their quality, the fees charged, their discriminatory impacts and labour conditions. Bridge has rejected the findings of these independent reports. However recent media coverage has raised similar questions.

In the past two months two major news articles have been published on Bridge International Academies:

These articles stand out for the investigative rigour of the publications they appear in, the depth and detail of their analysis, and the fact that they are based on original research. They allow for civil society claims to be verified against independent journalist investigations. The GI-ESCR has prepared a brief summarising 10 key findings from these articles. These findings not only corroborate the concerns raised by civil society, but also reveal evidence of new challenges. The GI-ESCR shares this information as part of its work to encourage transparency and accountability in the delivery of education in the context of the fast growth of private actor involvement.

On 1 August 2017, 174 civil society organisations from around the world released this statement calling on investors to cease support for Bridge International Academies, a company running over 500 commercial private schools in the Global South with the support of international donors and investors.  

Français

 Cette déclaration a été signée par 174 organisations de la société civile du monde entier appelant les investisseurs de Bridge International Academies à cesser leur soutien à la plus grande entreprise d’écoles privées à dimension commerciale opérant dans les pays en voie de développement et soutenue par des donateurs et investisseurs internationaux.  

English

Over the past two decades, a set of globally converging discourses on lifelong learning (LLL) has emerged around the world. Driven mostly by inter-governmental organisations, these discourses have been largely embraced by national and local education systems seeking to reflect local traditions and priorities. This paper argues that these discourses tend to look remarkably alike, converging into a homogeneous rationale in which the economic dimension of education predominates over other dimensions of learning, and in which adaptation takes pre-eminence
over social transformation as a goal of LLL. It also shows how these converging discourses are embedded in the logic of the knowledge economy, driven by concern for human capital formation as dictated by the changing demands of the global labour market, and can neglect the learning needs and interests of local communities. The paper concludes that the globally converging discourse of LLL tends to serve the interests of the market ahead of those of the community, and argues that an alternative characterisation of LLL, anchored in social justice, is necessary in the light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and especially Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

The Washington Supreme Court ruled that an Act establishing and funding charter schools as common schools was unconstitutional. The Court held that charter schools are not ‘common schools’ under Article IX of Washington’s Constitution. Thus, the use of funds restricted by the Washington Constitution to support common schools under the Act was unconstitutional. Also, because the funding provisions were integral to, and not severable from, the Act, the Court held the Act to be unconstitutional in its entirety.

The second edition of the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) presents the latest evidence on global progress towards the education targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

With hundreds of millions of people still not going to school, and many not achieving minimum skills at school, it is clear education systems are off track to achieve global goals. The marginalised currently bear the most consequences but also stand to benefit the most if policy-makers pay sufficient attention to their needs. Faced with these challenges, along with tight budgets and increased emphasis on results-oriented value for money, countries are searching for solutions. Increased accountability often tops the list.

The 2017/8 GEM Report shows the entire array of approaches to accountability in education. It ranges from countries unused to the concept, where violations of the right to education go unchallenged, to countries where accountability has become an end in itself instead of a means to inclusive, equitable and high-quality education and lifelong learning for all.

The report emphasises that education is a shared responsibility. While governments have primary responsibility, all actors – schools, teachers, parents, students, international organizations, private sector providers, civil society and the media – have a role in improving education systems. The report emphasises the importance of transparency and availability of information but urges caution in how data are used. It makes the case for avoiding accountability systems with a disproportionate focus on narrowly defined results and punitive sanctions. In an era of multiple accountability tools, the report provides clear evidence on those that are working and those that are not.

This research provides an overview of the trajectories and forms of education privatisation in Nepal, with a special focus on low-fee and chain schools. In doing so, it seeks to contribute to the ongoing, critical debate about the relationships between students’ rights to quality education, teachers’ rights to quality working conditions, equitable access to schools and the regulation of private actors in education. It used a mixed methodology, comprising desk research, and field work (survey and interviews). The major focus of the desk research was on: (i) identifying and analysing the growth trajectory of privatisation; (ii) examining the overall policy, practice and legislative environment in which the private sector has proliferated; and, (iii) identifying prominent private actors and issues related to equity and social justice in Nepal’s education sector. The fieldwork was comprised of case studies of two types of private schools – (i) the Samata Shiksha Niketan Schools (a low-fee private school chain), and (ii) the schools operated by Chaudhary Group (CG). For the purpose of case studies, five Samata and three CG schools were selected. The case studies were conducted using a survey questionnaire and semi-structured interviews amongst teachers, students, school principals, and promoters/owners. Throughout the process of data collection, interpretation and analysis, special emphasis was given to gender as a cross-cutting perspective. 

The Oxford Human Rights Hub in partnership with the Open Society Foundations has created a free online resource Learning lessons from litigators: Realising the right to education through public interest lawyering for anyone engaged in campaigning, advocating or litigating for the right to education, especially in the context of privatisation of education, on the potential and risks of litigation and how it can complement other forms of activism.

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This report, Charters and Consequences, is the result of a year-long exploration of the effects of charter schools and the issues that surround them. Each of its eleven issues-based stories tells what the Network for Public Education (NPE) have learned not only from research, but also from talking with parents, community members, teachers, and school leaders around the nation who have observed the effects of charters on their communities and neighborhood schools.

While stories of individual charter successes are well covered by the media, substantive issues surrounding the explosion of charter school growth are too often brushed aside. The purpose of this report is to bring those issues to light. 

This youth report, based on findings and conclusions from the 2017/8 Global Education Monitoring report, asks how young people are involved in the process of accountability in education. As students, what are we responsible for in our education and how are we held accountable? How can we make sure other actors–like schools, universities and governments–are held accountable for their responsibilities? These are critical questions, because we know that there’s a long way to go before all young people around the world have access to a quality education:
absent teachers, overcrowded classrooms, illegitimate diplomas, unregulated private schools and truancy are all issues that education systems are struggling to overcome.

It’s sometimes tempting to say that these problems aren’t ours to fix, that the responsibility lies with the government or with an older generation. But this simply isn’t true: education is a shared responsibility, and young people have an important role to play. In this Report, you’ll hear the stories of young people around the world who have stood up for the right to education in their communities and who have been integral in triggering change. You’ll also read about how you can become involved in our campaign to make sure governments can be held to account for education. This means making sure that citizens can take their governments to court if they are not meeting their education responsibilities. From creating video clips to holding awareness-raising events, there is a range of ways to make your voice heard. Your involvement is integral in making sure the world is on the right path to meeting our education goals. 

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