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National Education Union to stage rallies against profiteer Pearson over exploitation of African and Asian schoolchildren

EDUCATION workers will protest this Friday against an education-for-profit magnate’s “exploitation” of the African and Asian continents.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) will rally at Savoy Place in London against multinational assessment service Pearson, which is closely involved with Bridge — one of the world’s largest education-for-profit companies.

As a “low-fee” private schools provider, Bridge intends to extend its influence throughout Africa and Asia within the next decade, with a business plan that union campaigners claim is focused on maximising profit at the expense of educational quality.

Bridge because notorious last year when it took the Kenyan National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and its general secretary Wilson Sossion to court after they criticised the corporation.

In 2016, the company fabricated allegations against Curtis Riep, a Canadian investigative researcher working in Uganda, which led to his temporary arrest.  

In addition to Pearson, trade unionists also highlight the fact that Bridge is supported by the World Bank, the British and US governments and billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates.

Standing side by side with African trade unionists, joint NEU general secretary Kevin Courtney said yesterday that his members support the right of all children to free, high-quality education.

He said: “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.”

Pearson's aim is "keep the dialogue open" to achieve "increased access to quality education for more learners," the firm said in a statement.

A Bride spokesperson argued the work it is doing to tackle inequalities in global education is important.


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