Kenya: Bridge loses court case
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The High Court of Kenya in Nairobi has rebutted a complaint of Bridge Academies against the education union KNUT and its president Wilson Sossion on the grounds of the defense of quality education.
The for-profit private education provider Bridge Academies has lost a court case against the Education International (EI) affiliate in the country KNUT and its president Wilson Sossion. Bridge claimed that KNUT had incurred in defamatory practices against it and that Sossion had worked on behalf of EI’s interests. These claims have been judged as unjustified by the High Court’s principal judge Richard Mwongo.
In his ruling, Mwongo states that the critical publications and assertions made by KNUT regarding Bridge are not defamatory since they are backed up by facts and concern the right to education, which is enshrined in the 2010 Kenyan Constitution and the Basic Education Act of 2013. He highlights that education is a matter of national importance and that the publication of articles and information on Bridge schools “naturally attract attention, interest and concern of the public”. Based on these arguments, KNUT was committing no offence through its inquiries and publications about the chain’s operations, but was rather acting in defence of one of the nation’s primary concerns.
The law also states that the licence, registration and accreditation of education institutions are mandatory in Kenya. Since Bridge has not been able to prove that its license is in process of validation, the court has dismissed the for-profit chain’s application with costs.
Wilson Sossion, head of KNUT, said that his union was “greatly excited with the court ruling, particularly with the content. The judgment underscores the centrality of our constitution and our laws in regulating our education which in effect upholds our sovereignty as a nation. The right of Kenyans to audit what happens in all learning institutions, both private and public is emphasized in the judgment..”
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