Mukono. President Museveni has warned schools implementing the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme to immediately stop charging extra fees from parents, as schools open for third term.
The President explained that when UPE was established in 1997, the aim was to ensure that children from poor families access basic education.
He said he had learnt that the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of various schools were holding meetings with the aim of sending back home pupils who fail to pay the extra fees.
“Government puts money into UPE to ensure all pupils get free basic education. Parents and teachers hold meetings to collect money. What is that money for?” he asked adding that NRM leaders at the village levels should meet and discuss the issue.
The President was addressing residents of Kapeke village in Nama Sub-county, Mukono District, last Friday where he commissioned an electricity transmission line.
President Museveni in 2003 outlawed fees levied on UPE pupils and warned that school administrators found guilty of the offence would face criminal charges.
Government introduced free primary education in 1997 and a decade later implemented free secondary education to enable eligible primary school graduates enrol in tuition-free secondary and vocational training institutions.
Some schools have suggested to government that they should be allowed to levy lunch fees as lack of a clear feeding programme in UPE schools has been blamed for the massive dropouts and absenteeism.
Others levy development fees but the President says such charges are illegal and a burden to the parents, and should be stopped.
UPE was introduced in January 1997 following a political commitment by President Museveni that government would meet the cost of primary education of four children per family. This commitment was later extended to allow all people who wanted to access primary education to do so. Universal Primary Education (UPE) is one of the government’s main policy tools for achieving poverty reduction and human development.