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Liberian Lawmaker Slams ‘Disgraceful’ Bridge Infrastructure in Sasstown

Liberian Lawmaker Slams ‘Disgraceful’ Bridge Infrastructure in Sasstown

Sasstown, Grand Kru County - Rep. J. Fonati Koffa has decried as disgraceful the Bridge Partnership Schools for Liberia’s infrastructure in Sasstown.

Rep. Koffa, who is currently touring the county to assess the needs of his constituents, told FrontPageAfrica Monday that he was disappointed with what is seeing in that part of the country.

At the W.T. Workloh Elementary School, some 83 students sit in a less than 10 by 10 classroom building made of mud brick, which is nearing collapse.

"I am not sure how the partnership works but it seems to me that an upgrade in the school infrastructure soon after a school is enlisted is not right.”

Bridge PSL currently operates schools in 8 districts across Maryland and Grand Kru Counties.

Despite the poor condition of the school, Principal Belloh Teah reported that the Bridge system appears to be beneficial under the circumstances.

The lawmaker said he plans swift intervention to build a new building including legislative project or private funding if necessary.

Prior to the 2017 Presidential Elections, a FrontPageAfrica investigative report found the county’s education system to be in tatters as many of the young boys and girls have no opportunity to complete high school because the buck stops in the tenth grade.

Compounding the problem, the county, according to the result performed dismally in the 2016/2017 Exams with only two out of 71 candidates passing the exams.

This prompted officials to lay the blame on the lack of teachers.

Bridge came under fire in March when some 88 civil society organisations urged investors to cease their support for the multinational for-profit chain of private schools Bridge International Academies (BIA), which runs over 500 schools in Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, and India.      

These organisations are calling investors’ attention to a series of concerning practices by BIA and the associated legal and reputational risks they incur.

These practices include lack of transparency, poor labour conditions, and non-respect of the rule of law in host countries. Investors in BIA range from well-known private investors such as the Omidyar Network, the Zuckerberg Education Ventures, and Bill Gates to public State agencies from the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, the Netherlands, and the European Union.

In response, Bridge said globally, the primary level ‘out of school children’ rate has been flat since 2008, and many communities continue to be in desperate need of schools where their children can really learn. 

The organization added: “We think, as do our investors, that effectiveness should be measured on outcomes for children and in the case of education, learning gains​. Bridge’s learning gains across multiple years and countries have demonstrated what is possible.

It should be noted that most of the reports and evidence collated for this letter (of March 1st 2018) have been previously rebutted.

We also note that the 88 signatories are greatly reduced in number from those that previously signed a similar letter last autumn – a reduction of about 50%.

We can only conclude the plethora of learning gains released in the last 6 months have gone some way to persuading them of the efficacy of the model.  

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