When the Liberian Legislature summoned Bridge Country Director Griffin Asigo in early February 2020, it was Education Minister Ansu Sonii who took the podium, answering inquiries on behalf of the Bridge Country Director.
Prof. Sonii had gone to face the wrath of the Legislature following several disrespects to the body by Mr. Griffin Asigo after he had failed to honor the legislative committee’s several invites.
At the hearing, Prof. Sonii appeared shocked that Bridge International, a global educational brand had as its Country Director to Liberia a Kenyan national with BA in Anthropology, something far less than the requirement of an average Liberian CEO and DEO who must earn master’s or above to manage schools. Some members of the Legislature expressed dismay over the poor credential of a man who is here to ‘Improve’ Liberia’s educational program.
Bridge runs 170 schools in Liberia, far above CEOs and DEOs who manage a lesser number of schools, yet are better qualified.
Prof. Ansu Sonii left the Legislative hearing in shame, given Ministry’s prior and current endorsements of a program that has someone with such limited qualification holding a top role in a country that has experienced individuals with highly impressive CVs.
It is becoming increasingly disturbing that due to his low academic record, Griffin is at the same time hiring people with limited pedigree to manage different roles within the company.
With a reported office romance, comes Corina Totimeh Wornee, a nurse who now serves as Director of Schools with no history of being in the classroom. Several employees questioning how she made her way into such a high profile educational role that should be occupied by a BSc or MA in Education personalities who have been relieved from their posts. In a subsequent write-up, light will be shed on how the reported romance between the Bridge Liberia Country Director and his hand-picked Director of Schools is ruining activities at a global educational brand.
Liberia’s education was considered a mess by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, which compelled her then Minister of Education George K. Werner to outsource foreign educational providers to run the foundational part of the sector. Despite the disappointment expressed by several educators to the decision, Werner, having Ellen’s backing, went ahead. Today, the process is still considered a mess.
Alarming too is the fact that Bridge International Academies has no tangible assets in Liberia, not even a vehicle for employees, nor a befitting bank account, among others.
“Bridge Liberia is a total sham run from the black bags and raising millions from donors. Students still sit on the ground, in the dust in some parts of the country and ahead of Coronavirus, the company packed out and ran all expats away, leaving its partners and workers without notice,” observed one MOE-paid teacher assigned at a Bridge-run school in Central Liberia.
Reports have it that former Minister of Education George Werner continues to get paid hugely by Bridge under the dark while unqualified foreign persons sit at the helm of authority with little being done to remedy the situation in the country. Bridge International is reportedly one of key financiers of the former Minister’s senatorial bid in Grand Kru County to enable him sit on the Senate education committee and subject employees to continuous inhumane treatment.
Prof. Sonii should feel undermined by Werner and is being conjured to believe that Bridge is massively performing while most of its employees have limited academic credentials to run the sector, leaving kids with nothing to learn in the classroom.
Being an expatriate must accord Liberians an opportunity to learn new things and ways of doing them, unfortunately an unqualified expatriate is not what Liberia needs to move education from mess to best.
Prof. Sonii needs to cover every moral high grounds to request someone with a better credential to run the sector instead of an unqualified person, least to say an expatriate; President George Weah has to take note of what’s happening at Bridge Liberia to correct the mess early before it’s too late.
Meanwhile, it took Ministry of Labor recently to save employees’ dashed hope after over 80% of them were made to take just 10% of their salaries for what the company called Corona Virus hit. Government’s ultimatum for Bridge to remit nothing less than 50% of employees salaries has yielded fruits, leaving many downhearted personnel of Bridge now smiling halfheartedly.