Members of the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee have criticized the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for what they consider decision-making motivated by media coverage including inaccurate claims of wasteful spending from DFID’s chief, Priti Patel. In a newly-released report and in public comments, MPs praised Patel’s efforts to make development assistance accountable but argued that there’s little evidence of wasteful spending, as Patel has previously claimed. Additionally, the committee claimed that DFID has allowed itself to be influenced by negative press coverage. In January DFID called off plans to give £5.2 million to Girl Effect, an advocacy group for female rights in Ethiopia, following media reports claiming that the money was instead funneled to useless projects.
Members of the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee questioned the educational approach of a school operator funded in part by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) as part of their inquiry into DFID’s work in education. MPs, including Chairman Stephen Twigg, a former education minister, questioned heavy reliance on smartphones, tablets, and scripted lesson planning used by Bridge International Academies, which runs more than 500 schools worldwide and is funded by DFID in Uganda, where MPs have observed Bridge Academies’ work in practice. MPs said the practice appears disempowering for educators and unsustainable in the long run, according to TES, the weekly educational supplement of The Times newspaper. Bridge’s co-founder, however, argued that the method is driven by data and backed by research, in addition to being low cost.