Another attempt by the Daily Mail to undermine the UK’s international aid programme failed this week after it admitted a mistake in its reporting.
A few weeks ago the Mail ran a story with this headline:
You dunces! Fury as Uganda closes private schools British taxpayers funded in foreign aid
The implication was that British taxpayers’ money was being thrown down the drain as schools we funded were being closed.
The Mail of course asked Taxpayers’ Alliance for their opinion:
Alex Wild of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘This is yet another example of taxpayers’ money being wasted on well-intentioned projects abroad which don’t deliver results.
‘These botched projects not only let down those who need our help abroad but also hit hard-pressed families at home and seriously undermine the credibility of our aid programme.’
Actually this wasn’t quite what happened.
As the Daily Mail admits in a clarification today, the money wasn’t just for Uganda. It was for an educational programme that is worldwide:
An article last week said the Department for International Development (DFID) gave £5.5 million in UK foreign aid for schools in Uganda which the Ugandan government has now closed. In fact the donation was to Bridge International Academies which is worldwide, not just in Uganda.
Bridge International infact has won high profile investors from all over the world for pioneering low-cost high-tech education in some of the poorest parts of the world.
It is suspected the Ugandan government closed the BIA schools because they were starting to threaten local high-fees private schools.
DFID also pointed out that BIA didn’t get regular direct funding from them anyway (which Mail included right at the end):
Bridges Academies in Uganda do not receive any direct funding from our aid budget, but we are concerned about the implications of this judgment on the 12,000 children receiving education through these schools.
That didn’t stop the Mail or the Taxpayers’ Alliance from passing judgement anyway.
This is the state of poor news reporting in the UK