LIBERIA – Investigations conducted by Smart News Liberia have established the majority of public schools run by Bridge International are disparate to leave Bridge’s supervision because of unpleasing working relationships.
Investigations established, over 10 public schools in Bomi, Grand Bassa, and Bong counties through authorities told Smart News Liberia Bridge has failed to do what initially promised. According to them, Bridge promised renovation and to improve facilities of the schools which, they said none has been accomplished – and because of that, coupled with Bridge’s failure, they are experiencing serious impediments for which they’re calling on the Ministry of Education to have Bridge vacant the MOE or leave the country.
The schools in the mentioned counties’ administrators narrated similar challenges during the investigation, saying they see no reason why the Ministry of Education allowed Bridge operates in Liberia, alleging that Bridge intends is to collect money from partners at their expense.
They condemned in the strongest tone, saying, “Bridge doesn’t care about teachers’ welfare. Bridge is a complete failure to our educational sector.”
“We spent 10 hours each school day teaching. Bridge doesn’t show concern. Students, especially the little ones, because of Bridge’s attitude, sleep while the teacher is teaching because of hunger…”
“Some students, many times leave while the lesson is ongoing to find food in nearby villages to eat,” one of the aggrieved administrators angrily narrated.
Adding, “I don’t know on what basis the Ministry of Education has to sign an agreement with Bridge… I haven’t seen any Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from Bridge or from MOE – they (Bridge International) showed up one morning and said this school (name withheld) is under Bridge’s control.
“I am sure similar problems exist in all public schools controlled by Bridge International. I am recommending to the government through the MOE to tell Bridge to leave Liberia.”
Smart News Liberia investigation also discovered that public schools under Bridge’s supervision are declining every school year. Student enrollment dropped due to Bridge’s poor management.
In Bomi County, one administrator (name withheld) revealed told Smart News Liberia that since Bridge took over the school, there has been no significant difference, adding “The school building still remains the same despite being promised by Bridge to renovate it.
According to him, everything at the institution is not going smoothly as it used to be, describing “Bridge is a serious embarrassment…” Our schools’ enrollment is dropping every semester – going from bad to worse,” he said.
Accordingly, he told Smart News Liberia because of Bridge’s lack of support, his school enrollment has dropped from 125 to 60 students for the semester year (2021/2022).
He alleged also that Bridge has failed to give his resettlement benefit since leaving Bong County to take Bridge’s assignment – a situation he said has placed him in serious financial hardship.
“I don’t have the mean to take care of my family because of Bridge’s failure to give my resettlement benefit,” he alleged.
In Bong County, the administrator alleged and narrated that Bridge focused is to generate more money from donors, alleging Bridge doesn’t update its database, meaning students who left school names are still captured in Bridge’s database – alleging Bridge uses the fake database to give donor partners false impression for monetary gain.
“I even noticed students who are promoted names are still maintained in the same classes. It shows Bridge is not updating its database…”
Also speaking to Smart News Liberia the Parents Teachers Association Chairmen including some elders in the counties mentioned complaints of Bridge’s failure to do what they promised, adding during the discussions with Bridge promised to renovate and improve school facilities but has failed to do so.
The PTAs and elders in similar outbursts said Bridge is not concerned about teachers and students, a situation they said shows Bridge is in Liberia to generate more donor funding…
“We don’t see no reason of Bridge in our schools – they need to leave…”
Meanwhile, efforts to contact the Director of Communications at Bridge, Madam Melody prove fruitless as her mobile phone rang endlessly – and also failed to respond to a text message sent to her.