Tomorrow.

 

Teachers from across the globe tell Pearson investors:

Stop the exploitation of vulnerable kids!

International protest and actions planned at annual shareholders meeting

For Immediate Release

What: Teachers from around the globe, education unions and members of parliament from Kenya will be protesting both outside and inside the Annual General Meeting of Pearson to urge investors to stop funding Bridge International Academies.

When/Where: Friday, May 4th Press conference and protest at 11 AM. The shareholders meeting starts at 12PM at which point the protest will continue inside the meeting. IET London, 2 Savoy Place, London WC2R

Who: Wilson Sossion, General Secretary, Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union (UK), Angelo Gavrielatos, Project Director, Education International (EI) will all be available for interviews.

Contact: Angelo Gavrielatos at +61488012045

Why: Pearson is a huge edu-business which invests in the US owned corporation called Bridge International Academies. This for-profit corporation is making money off the education dreams and aspirations of poor families in Africa and Asia. We want Pearson shareholders to be aware of this hurtful investment and to stop supporting a company that seeks to profit from vulnerable kids.

***

London, May 2, 2018 – Education activists, teachers and union leaders representing 32 million educators worldwide will come to London to urge shareholders at the Pearson Annual General Meeting to stop funding Bridge International Academies, a for-profit company that makes money by shortchanging the education of thousands of at risk children.

Bridge is one of the largest education for-profit companies in the world, with plans to sell basic education services directly to 10 million fee-paying students throughout Africa and Asia by 2025. Bridge’s business plan is predicated on the employment of unqualified staff delivering a highly scripted, standardised curriculum in substandard facilities.

Despite their slick marketing, the company uses cost-cutting techniques aimed at minimising operational costs in order to maximise profit. In both Uganda and Kenya, Bridge schools have been ordered to shut because of the company’s neglect and disregard for national legal and educational requirements.

In announcing the closure of these schools, authorities in Kenya and Uganda have cited the company’s failure to seek registration to operate, failure to employ qualified teachers, failure to conform to national curriculum requirements and use of unsafe facilities. Bridge has retaliated by taking legal action against its critics in an attempt to silence them.

Wilson Sossion, General Secretary, Kenya National Union of Teachers, who is being sued by Bridge, will travel all the way to London to denounce the corporation’s practices in his own country.

“Learners are precious human beings destined to enjoy rich and fulfilling lives and help build decent and strong societies. They should never be seen or treated as remote, unknown pieces of education business supply chains,” said Wilson Sossion.

“By supporting Bridge, Pearson is actively undermining the attainment of free quality education for all, and going against its own motto of education as a “never-ending road of discovery, challenge, inspiration, and wonder,”’ said Angelo Gavrielatos, Project Director at Education International.

“Pearson goes to great lengths to talk about how central teachers are to the achievement of quality education for all yet, it supports these for-profit chains who use unqualified staff delivering scripted lessons in a robotic structure. Adding insult to injury, poor families must pay ever increasing fees to sustain a business that shortchanges their education dreams,” he added.

“Every child has the right to a free, high quality education, with trained teachers and a safe learning environment. Bridge exploits this right for profit, and in the process delivers a sub-standard education that deepens inequality in the communities it “serves”. Pearson’s investment in this exploitative business model is wholly indefensible,” stated Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU).

***

Education International is the global teacher trade union federation representing more than 32 million educators in 172 countries.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers is the largest teachers’ trade union in Kenya.

The National Education Union is the largest teachers’ union in the UK, established in 2017 after the amalgamation of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). Both unions have a history of opposing the privatisation of education both nationally and internationally.

Angelo Gavrielatos​
Project Director
Email: Angelo.Gavrielatos@ei-ie.org
Tel: +32 2 224 06 11
Fax: +32 2 224 06 06
5 bd du Roi Albert II | 1210 Brussels | BELGIUM
http://www.ei-ie.org