Kampala- The ministry of Education will not extend studies for the first term for Senior Five entrants, even if they are expected to attend classes for only one month, an official has revealed.
This comes at a time when many parents are preparing to pay school dues for new A-Level students after the release of 2013 S4 results on Tuesday.
The Commissioner Secondary Education, Mr Francis Agula, said schools will be allowed to extend the contact time with the new class of Senior Five at their own discretion even during the holiday period. This means, in effect, that S5s will not break off for holidays.
“We are going to advise them (schools) to make internal or other arrangements as they see fit so that students can compensate for lost time,” Mr Agula said. The commissioner said where schools find difficulties in deciding about their programmes, they can consult the ministry.
According to Mr Agula, S5 students are late to report to school by two weeks which was prompted by the Uganda National Examinations Board’s delay to release Senior Four final exams results. The results were released on Tuesday, indicating a decline in overall performance compared to the 2012 cohort.
A random survey by this newspaper indicates that many schools will not raise school fees significantly. A number of schools have increased their fees between the range of Shs20,000 and Shs30,000 with others charging the same fees for new entrants as last year.
“Ours is a parents’ school and if we are to increase fees it is them to take the decision,” said Mr Ali Serugo, the head teacher Kinaawa High School Mugongo.
Basing on previous experience, some head teachers who talked to the Daily Monitor said whenever Uneb delays in releasing of exams, many students skip first term and begin in second term.
The head teacher Ssaku SS, Mr Michael Mpiima, said it would be fair for private school owners to meet and reduce fees by 60 per cent to avoid “cheating” parents.
“This is my view, but many private schools will have to look for a way out. When you calculate the time S5 students will be at school, it is only a month and by April 18 many will be breaking off for Easter holiday and will turn to cover the remaining days to the end of term,” Mr Mpiima said.
“From past experience, whenever there are delays like this, parents sit back and wait for the second term before they send their children.”
Some parents who talked to the Daily Monitor said it would be a waste of their meagre resources to pay fees, yet it is only one and half months to closing of term one.
“I want my daughter to study, but it doesn’t make sense to spend Shs1 million yet she is going to study for only a month. Let me concentrate on buying the school requirements. I shall take her for the next term,” Mr Ssenseko Matovu, a parent, said.
Reported by: Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Stephen Kafeero, Joseph Mwesigwa, Pauline Bangirana & Janet Birungi