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Governor backs Bridge Academies despite court order

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong has backed operations of Bridge International School in the county despite a court directive to shut down ten of its 12 academies for non-compliance with education standards.

Speaking on Wednesday after a brief meeting with officials from the institution led by Public Relations manager Jackline Walumbe, Mr Ojaamong said he is set to meet the County Education Board on Friday in a bid to end protracted battle and threats to close the schools.

“We are ready to address this issue once and for all. Even if the school has not met certain requirement it should be given time to fulfil the set conditions. Ordering their closure will not help our suffering children,” he said.

The Friday meeting is set to deliberate on critical issues affecting the school after High court judge Justice Korir on February 17, this year upheld the decision to close 10 academies for failing to meet education standards outlined in an inspection report.

Ms Walumbe confirmed to the Nation that they have since met all the requirements outlined by the board and they are ready to continue with operations.

She said all the 99 teachers employed across the schools have been certified by the Teachers Service Commission as directed by the board.

“Some of the issues we are facing can be solved at county level and we are excited that the governor is supportive of our schools.

“I want to reiterate that Bridge has complied with what the County Education board wanted. All our schools use certified learning materials from Kenyan government and we’ve made arrangements with nearby public schools to access social amenities for our 1200 pupils,” she said.

Ms Walumbe reiterated that they are ready to work with the local authorities and other stakeholders to resolve any issues within the stipulated time that the Court has granted.

Education Advocate Peter Amunga blamed Education International for waging a war against Bridge International.

“Let the people of Busia decide their destiny on matters education. I wonder why somebody in Brussels should control what we are doing here because of personal interest.

“People of Busia must invest in good education and one of the schools giving out this gift to our children is Bridge International. This is evident because the first pupil in 2016 KCPE examination in Busia County was from Bridge,” he said.

The Board, in November 2014, decided to close the academies in Busia for non-compliance citing the schools provided unsanitary learning conditions, used unqualified teachers who were also not properly licensed.

Bridge offers cheap, standardised, technology-driven education in countries in Africa and Asia.

Under the Bridge International model, teachers read scripted lessons from a tablet computer that also records student attendance and assessments.

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