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AMERICAN SCAM? Uganda kicks Gates and Zuckerberg from schools

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Officials find schools not properly educating kids.

Some sixty-three private schools in Uganda are about to be closed after officials found they are not properly educating students. The schools in question belong to the Bridges Academy, a private, for-profit school system funded in part by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

Students attend a Bridge Academy in Africa. Uganda has ordered the closure of these schools.

Students attend a Bridge Academy in Africa. Uganda has ordered the closure of these schools.

Highlights

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- The government of Uganda has ordered the closure of a chain of schools funded in part by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. The order follows a finding by the Ugandan High Court that the schools are "unsanitary and unqualified." The Bridge Academy has been ordered to close for risking the "life and safety" of its 12,000 students.

The Bridge Academy is a chain of private schools that operates in Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria. Both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are investors in the schools. The schools provide a western education with tablets and computers, for about $6 per month. That's about half of what the Ugandan government pays for students to be educated in public schools. The chain also runs about 400 nurseries across Africa.


Without the Academy, its supporters say parents would not have an adequate choice for their children.

However, the Ugandan government has criticized the schools for their reliance on tablets and scripted instruction. Students and teachers must both follow a strict routine, and are not engaged in thinking, discussing or debating. The government also criticized sanitation facilities for the students. The Academy is treating the poor as a profit center, according to the court.

The heart of the problem is less complex. With the Davos men like Gates and Zuckerberg owning the school, it's easy to imagine what's being taught. The values of the people of Uganda and Davos elites like Gates are certainly at odds. The people of Uganda want their culture to be respected and their values taught in their schools. There is a demand for moral education, not commercial education.

Moral education, such as that provided by the Catholic Church in its schools, is essential. Anybody can learn to read and write. However, moral behavior is rarely part of the curriculum. What good is knowing how to program computers and research online, among other skills, if one does not know how or why one should be? Knowledge in the hands of an evil person is never put to good use.

Fortunately, education is about to undergo a monumental shift as technology promises to improve access, decrease cost, and provide custom lessons to students. The arrival of interactive video, virtual reality, and other new technologies will reduce the burden on overcrowded schools and overworked teachers. In the decades to come, education will rely heavily on technology, but it will be much improved.

The current model of education was pioneered over a century ago, during the industrial revolution of the steam and steel. The purpose was to prepare children to become factory workers. Such a model of education is impractical in a world that no longer needs factory workers.

The days of lining students in columns and rows is coming to an end. In the future, students will learn lessons from the greatest teachers around the globe. The lessons will be personalized for their level, language and ability. They will be able to learn both individually and collaboratively. And best of all, they will be able to enjoy this education in the privacy of their home, or in a group learning environment.

Such a future remains several years away, but it is well within the realm of our lifetimes. Interactive video has already arrived and will change education almost immediately. The pioneers of the new schools for the 21st century are hard at work, and very soon, you will be hearing from them.

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