Schools fail to open over delayed capitation grant
Posted Wednesday, February 6 2013 at 02:00
At least 600 schools are struggling to operate in the new term with some failing to open after the government failed to release capitation grant funds to ease school operations on time.
Through their umbrella body, the National Association of Private Universal Secondary Education Schools (NAPUSES), the schools say they opened the term without funds to facilitate the buying of teaching materials and paying teachers’ salaries.
The capitation grant is a programme through which the government pays Shs47,000 per student per term to students in private institutions that partner with it. Government schools get Shs41,000 for each student.
Ms Hanifah Bukenya, the NAPUSES vice chairperson, yesterday said most of the schools were finding it difficult to open, adding that even those which opened, their students are not able to learn because there is no money to facilitate the learning.
She explained that at her school, Nakifuma High School, they had failed to register students because there is no stationery and the school could not even afford to motivate the teachers with breakfast.
“We are congested. We need more furniture and classrooms. The teachers have not been paid. Those who could find other schools left. There is no money to pay new teachers to replace them. It seems these ministries are tired of us but I will not get tired of demanding for this money,” Ms Bukenya said in an interview.
However, she could not mention an individual school which had failed to open because of lack of funds. This however, has been the trend since the partnership seven years ago. The President last year directed the Ministry of Finance to always release money to schools two weeks to the opening.
This however, has never been complied to as money is still released quarterly, a system that does not rhyme with schools’ termly operation.
According to the Presidential Press Secretary, Mr Tamale Mirundi, the President’s directive can only be effected depending on the amount of revenue collected.
“I know there is corruption. I know that these people in these ministries own schools and they look for ways of delaying government to find excuses to solicit for funds from parents. The President is not Jesus. If he gave a directive, it also depends on the revenue collected,” Mr Mirundi said over the telephone.
Education Minister Jessica Alupo yesterday said following the President’s directive last year, her ministry wrote to the Ministry of Finance reminding them that schools needed money because they were opening this week.
However, it was not clear why money had not reached schools since she had not received any communication.