Over 1, 000 unlicensed schools closed

The ministry informs the public that permission to operate a new school is only given in the first instance in form of a licence...,” Alex Kakooza, Education ministry permanent secretary

What you need to know:

  • Shut. Many schools lacked the required minimum standards while others were not registered by local governments.

KAMPALA. The government has closed at least 1,132 private primary and secondary schools without licences in various parts of the country.
The majority of the schools were closed last term for lack of meeting the required minimum standards.
But Dr Kedrace Turyagyenda, the Directorate of Education Standards director, yesterday said even schools that had met the standards have remained shut because some local governments have declined to register them over failure to pay some fees.
“I don’t have the latest update now. Those schools were closed last term, but there are some schools which had the structures but have not been licensed. I hear that some local governments have made licensing a money-making venture. Some of the school proprietors who can’t afford the levy have been denied the licence,” Dr Turyagyenda said in an interview.
“If there are those operating without the licence, we shall close them again,” she added.
Mr Ismail Mulindwa, the commissioner for private schools, yesterday said government doesn’t levy any charges to license private schools and condemned those demanding money and branded them as ‘anti-development’.
“If there is a school being charged for a licence, they can raise the issue officially. I don’t speak for local governments but as government, there is no money we charge for licensing schools,” Mr Mulindwa said.
Mr Patrick Kaboyo, the national secretary of Federation of Non-State Education Institutions, an umbrella organisation for all private schools, yesterday confirmed that some of their members had registered complaints regarding the charges for licensing schools.
“We have complaints and there is a cloud of fear that if they speak out, they might never be allowed to re-open or get a licence,” Mr Kaboyo said.
He added: “We have requested government to have the framework streamlined. We want a committee that is representative enough at every level to accommodate our interests.”
More than 1,500 schools were last year closed because they didn’t have trained and registered teachers.
The ministry also blamed the administrators for using curricula that were unknown to the ministry, lacking instructional materials, and not having contracts for the land and buildings they occupied.
The ministry later gave the affected schools up to December last year to put in place what was lacking lest they would not be cleared to re-open for First Term in February this year.
The latest list of closed schools was compiled by the inspectors of schools as of last term.
The Education ministry permanent secretary, Mr Alex Kakooza, said then in a circular to local governments: “The ministry informs the public that permission to operate a new school is only given in the first instance in form of a licence. …no private school should operate in the school calendar year 2018 without a valid licence certificate by December 31,” Mr Kakooza stated in his September 22 letter.
He warned the public against enrolling their children in any school without a valid authority from the ministry.

Number of closed schools

Mitooma 26
Luuka 33
Jinja 49
Kasese 132
Bridge International Schools 63
Kira Municipality 27
Bbutambala 61
Wakiso 6
Buikwe 4
Rukiga 19
Bududa 5
Kole 9
Masindi Municipal council 10
Njeru Municipal 38
Kisoro 137
Mityana Municipal 3
Ibanda 3
Ibanda Municipal 15
Bugiri 67
Bugiri Municipal 2
Sheema Municipal 26
Sheema 52
Western region 74
Mubende municipal 21
Mubende 33
Kumi 17
Bundibugyo 49
Pallisa 68
Pallisa Town council 19
Soroti 17
Namayingo 47