Following the publication of a letter written to the Ministry of Education by some aggrieved ‘Concern Teachers of Bridge/PSL’, a copy in the possession of this news outlet complained on a number of issues, noting that they feel uncomfortable working with the partnership school (Bridge).
The ‘Concern Teachers’ alleged how Bridge office is persistently threatening the removal of teachers who are on government payroll, and also alleged that the institution on a regular basis tarnishing the reputation of teachers by serving them warning letters even if that teacher sent in an excuse among others.”
But in reaction to the ‘Concern Teachers’ allegations’, Mr. Ben Rudd International Director of PR of Bridge International Academies in his email to the GNN said,
“In relation to your news story “Dozens Of Concern Teachers Of Bridge/PSL Write MOE Say They’re Ill-treated”, please can you make the following factual corrections:
- Bridge International Academies is not USA based. The social enterprise is based in Nairobi.
- The Liberian government plans to outsource about 7% of Liberian schools to the eight independent school operators who are part of Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL), not the whole “primary education system”.
- Bridge International Academies (Bridge) today runs 25 schools across Liberia, not 200.
- Bridge has under 9,000 pupils in Liberia. Looking at the whole of PSL, at all eight school operators, there are under 28,000 pupils. PSL is a government designed and led initiative.
- Bridge has been working hard to get teachers on the Government payroll. This has been a challenge. The Ministry has also been working hard to get ghost teachers off the payroll, a problem often referred to by the Ministry for Education.
- We never threaten our teachers, we support and help them. Bridge teacher absenteeism is very low at Bridge, with an average of about 1%. This is far below the average for Liberia. The Education Minister George Werner said it was near 60% for normal schools.
- Teachers choose to work at Bridge, they do not have to. However, they choose to because of the professional support that they get both in and out of the classroom.
- Bridge teachers earn the same as other teachers within the PSL program. There are 8 operators and all teachers remain government teachers on the government payroll and paid for by the Ministry.
- Bridge does not manage the “education system” in Liberia. The government remains in control of all policy and strategic decision making. Bridge only performs the services that the government has requested,” the email from Mr. Rudd concluded.