The High Court in Kampala has agreed with the Ministry of Education to have Bridge International Academies closed over failure to meet minimum sanitation requirements of operation
Delivering her ruling on Friday morning, Justice Patricia Basaza Wasswa held that despite the ministry of Education’s efforts to engage the management of Bridge International Schools to remedy the inadequacies, they never took their advise seriously.
To that effect, the judge observed that Bridge International Schools are operating in contravention of the laws convening education and that they prayers under judicial review to prevail over the education ministry not to close their schools could not stand.
Bridge International Schools has a pupil population of 12,000 pupils cross their 63 campuses spread across the country.
Part of the ruling asserts that the applicant (Bridge International Schools) is operating its academies in contravention of the law. The Permanent Secretary ministry of Education (Dr Nassali Lukwago) made all the necessary efforts to engage the applicant to remedy the inadequacies in its operations but the applicant did not take the requisite actions.
“The PS Ministry of Education has both the mandate to promote quality control of education and training and the power to close institutions that do not comply with the set requirements and minimum standards and the law.”
Dr Lukwago had in her letter dated July, 25 this year to the management of Bridge International Schools, ordered for the closure of the schools over poor sanitation.
The PS justified the closure of the academies stating that most of the academies are in make shift structures, in most centers, there are two stances for girls, one for boys, one for the staff both male and female and the a urinal used by boys.
Further in her letter, Dr Lukwago stated that some of the latrines in the academies were not age friendly to the learners especially the young children and those of special needs, she added that a number of the latrines had filled up and in some centers, maggots could be seen floating on top and had even invaded the urinals.
At the tail end of her letter, Dr Lukwago stated: “from the aforementioned, am left with no option but to invoke se3ction 36 (4) of the Education, Pre-primary, primary and post primary Act 2008 and order you to close the schools forthwith until a time the ministry is satisfied that you have complied with the basic requirements and minimum standards.”
But the management of Bridge International Schools after receiving Dr Lukwago’s letter, ran to court and secured an interim order stopping the implementation of the orders to close their schools until the matter was to be heard and determined, which matter was concluded on Friday against their wishes.
In their main application for judicial review, Bridge International academies had contended that the government’s move to close its schools without according them a fair hearing, was unfair as it’s against the natural rules of justice.
They had also contended that it was unfair for government to base on a handful of reports to victimize all the 63 campuses.
The other ground that the Bridge International academies had raised was that the move by government to close its schools was unfair to hundreds of staff that the schools employees and that on the side of the parents, they were not prepared to relocate their children to other schools in such a short notice.