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Govt report on school fees coming out soon

A committee that was set up by the ministry of education to investigate concerns of school fees increments in various educational institutions is expected to submit its report at the end of this month.

This was revealed by the state minister for higher education, John Muyingo, on the sidelines of the groundbreaking ceremony of Uganda Christian University’s Kampala campus in Mengo.

“There was a national outcry on school fees and we decided to institute a committee last year,” Muyingo said. “The committee is doing a wonderful job because I happened to look at part of their work and they have raised quite a number of interesting issues.”

When asked to elaborate on some of the issues raised by the committee, Muyingo said: “I will not share the findings until the committee finalizes with its work and officially hands over its report by the end of this month [June].”

Early this year, the ministry of education’s permanent secretary, Alex Kakooza, directed proprietors of private institutions intending to increase school fees to seek his authorization.

“Whereas they [private schools] have contravened fees guidelines in the past, we are going to enforce the regulations this time,” Kakooza told The Observer then. “It is true that the cost of living has risen but any increment, if it must be there at all, must be submitted to the ministry. And for it to be approved, it must be within the limits accepted by us and does not discourage parents from sending their children to schools.”

He added that school proprietors are supposed to first discuss the increments with members of management committees, boards of governors and university councils before submitting their requests to the ministry.

Already, several private and government-aided schools have increased their tuition fees for second term. A list compiled by The Observer recently indicated that a number of schools had raised the money by Shs 200,000 and Shs 300,000.

Muyingo said he had also received information that some schools have increased fees this term under the guise of new examination registration fees by the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb).

“There has been an impression that by Uneb slightly increasing its fees, it was a permit for schools to also raise school fees; this is wrong,” Muyingo said. “Anybody who will be caught using Uneb’s name to increase fees is operating outside the law and the long arm of the law will deal with them.”

He said head teachers of schools under universal primary education and universal secondary education programmes have followed suit yet government pays Uneb fees for its candidates.

“This is theft and we shall discipline these head teachers accordingly,” the minister said, urging parents to report to his office any schools that have inappropriately increased fees this term.

This year, examination registration fees will be Shs 34,000 for primary seven candidates, Shs 164,000 (for S4s) and Shs 186,000 (for S6s).

nangonzi@observer.ug

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