BRIDGE INTERNATIONAL

Poor have right to private education

In Summary

• A Bridge International school in Mukuru, Nairobi had a mean KCPE score of 345 which is far better than most private schools

• That Bridge school charges Sh4,000 per term which is a fraction of what most privcate schools charge

Muthoni Kamau uses a tablet to teach at Bridge International School in Mukuru on January 27, 2014.
Muthoni Kamau uses a tablet to teach at Bridge International School in Mukuru on January 27, 2014.
Image: FILE

Bridge International Schools have spread across the world despite often intense opposition. Bridge schools use modern technology to deliver high-quality low-cost education to dwellers in informal settlements.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the English say. In Mukuru settlement in Nairobi, a Bridge school has just delivered sterling results in the latest KCPE exam.

The top pupil got 401 marks and the mean score was 345. That's better than most private and public schools in Kenya. And the fees are just Sh4,000 per term yet other private schools are 10 or 20 times as expensive (while public schools collect unofficial charges).

Why then the hostility? Teachers' unions allegedly don't like the accountability of tablets in Bridge schools which record when and where teachers are using them.

And others, including Kenya MPs, argue that it is immoral to charge poor people for education. But why shouldn't poor people have access to private education? If Mukuru parents want to pay Sh4,000 fees per term, isn't that their right? 

Access to better education through private schools should not remain a preserve of the middle class. That would be discriminatory and reactionary.

Quote of the day: "Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionise the way we learn."

Steve Jobs
He founded Apple with Steve Wozniak on April 1, 1977

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