The minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni has warned schools against increasing school fees and imposing unnecessary charges.
Speaking during the release of the 2018 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) results in Kampala today, Ms Museveni who is also the First Lady said the guidelines against increasing of fees and imposition of unwarranted charges by schools still remain applicable.
The Education ministry first issued the guidelines in October of 2017 and further released the same in December of the last year. Ms Museveni said schools should beware that the guidelines, which among other things prohibits schools from increasing school fees remains in force.
She directed the permanent secretary, Alex Kakooza, to not only enforce the restriction on increase of school fees, but also the operation of unlicensed schools. She says the information should also be spread as widely as possible.
There has been a tendency for schools, particularly private ones to increase school fees and impose all manner of charges at their own discretion, stressing parents and guardians.
The rampant increase in school fees and the myriad of charges have increased to the extent that incomes of most parents and guardians can no longer cope.
Below is the guideline on school fees issued last year:
The ministry of Education and Sports has noted with concern the unrealistic and prohibitive school fees which is denying access to basic and secondary education to a number of learners hence compromising government objective of providing affordable education for all and increasing equitable access to primary and post primary education.
In most cases the fees have been raised arbitrarily and without recourse to established official procedure requiring schools intending to raise school fees to seek and obtain official permission from the permanent secretary, ministry of Education and Sports.
In light of the above, I am hereby requiring ALL head teachers, school management committees of primary schools and boards of governors of secondary schools to strictly observe the following guidelines:
1. No school, private or government, shall increase school fees in the year 2018 for whatever reason without written authorization from the permanent secretary ministry of Education and Sports and/or chief administrative officer/town clerk as the case may be.
2. Other cash and non-cash requirements outside the approved school fees are strictly prohibited. All non-cash items must be catered for in the school budget.
3. Schools implementing Universal Primary Education (UPE), Universal Secondary Education (USE) and Universal Post "O" Level Education and Training (UPOLET) shall strictly adhere to the policy implementation guidelines.
Where parents decide and agree to contribute towards an emergency in the school and permission is sought and granted by the Permanent Secretary, no learner shall be excluded from school on account of parent's failure to pay the agreed amount in accordance with Section 9(3) of the Education Act 2008. As soon as the emergency is solved, the school shall stop charging the emergency fund.
4. Where a school board/school management committee has to employ additional teachers to those on payrolls, permission shall be sought from the permanent secretary in case of a secondary school and chief administrative officer/town clerk in case of primary schools, to use part of the capitation grant towards the payment of the additional teachers.
5. In line with 4 above, head teachers are warned against employing additional teachers before all the teachers on payroll have been assigned the minimum required teaching load. All teachers without a minimum teaching load should be promptly reported to the ministry of Education and Sports in case of secondary schools or respective Local Governments in case of primary schools for appropriate redeployment.
All schools must respect staff establishment ceilings for both teaching and non-teaching staff as provided by ministry of Public Service.
6. Private schools must adhere to the approved staff employment guidelines. They should formally recruit, contract and effectively manage and develop staff on reasonable employment terms.
7. All government and government aided schools should desist from taking commercial loans. Any school applying for a loan must seek authorisation from the minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development through the permanent secretary, ministry of Education and Sports as provided for in the Public Finance Management Act 2015.
8. Day schools must desist from changing their status to boarding until such a time when the change in status is approved by the permanent secretary, ministry of Education and Sports. Day schools desirous to operate boarding sections/hostels should seek authorization from the permanent secretary ministry of Education and Sports. All un-authorised hostels/ dormitories MUST not open starting 2018.
9. All school budgets must be discussed and endorsed by the full board/school management committees and submitted to the respective chief administrative officers/town clerks. For secondary schools, the chief administrative officers shall submit the endorsed school budgets to the permanent secretary, ministry of Education and Sports by 31st December of each year for final approval.
10. For proper implementation of these guidelines, each school must have a functional board of governors/school management committee. I would like to reiterate that NO school, private or government, should operate without an approved/functional board of governors or school management committee.
All heads of schools and institutions are strongly advised to guard against flouting the above guidelines. Stern disciplinary action shall be taken against any head of school operating contrary to the above guidelines.
Any private school that fails to observe these guidelines shall have its licence/registration certificate withdrawn. Parents and the general public are advised to report any school contravening these guidelines.