Thursday February 16 2017

Kadaga to stop arbitrary school fees charges



Rebecca Kadaga

Rebecca Kadaga 

By IBRAHIM A. MANZIL

PARLIAMENT. The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has pledged to stop the haphazard increase and high charges of tuition and non-tuition fees by Government-aided schools, which she says is frustrating children’s talents.

Ms Kadaga said the hiking of fees piles burden on her, with children swarming her office for financial assistance in paying of their school dues.

The rest of the pupils that don’t have the means, she said, end up wasting away or being sacked into criminality.

“It beats my understanding what these funds are for; many children are being wasted. We shall convey this petition to the relevant committee and action shall be taken,” she said.

“All the schools pay for building funds but you never see any buildings,” she added.

Ms Kadaga had received a petition from Initiative for Social and Economic Rights, a civil society organization, which said the arbitrary increases in tuition and non-tuition fees, is unconstitutional and divisive.

“Education is a social good, therefore government has a responsibility to ensure access for all regardless of status and social background,” reads part of the 13-reason petition.

It also accuses government-aided schools of “contravening Article 30 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to education.

The petitioners said it is unfair for government-aided schools to charge exorbitant fees yet they receive funding from taxpayers.

“What is the justification for these government-aided schools increasing fees yet they receive funding from the taxpayers? Parliament needs to investigate these schools,” said Ms Angella Nambowe Kasule, the programme director of Initiative for Social and Economic Rights.

Speaking to Daily Monitor yesterday, the Education ministry permanent secretary, Mr Alex Kakooza, distanced himself from the increases, terming them illegal since the ministry is unaware.

“We have not approved any increase in fees for government-aided secondary schools, therefore, any school doing so is illegal,” he said.

On whether the alleged increases will attract sanctions from the ministry, Mr Kakooza said they are “consulting and will take appropriate action.”

Every academic year, parents part with hefty payout to secondary schools, with requirements ranging from reams of paper to brooms, cement, barbed wire and building fees.

According to the Ministry of Education guidelines, schools can only increase fees upon prior notification and permission from the ministry.

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