At least fifteen Senior Six students of Iganga Top Care, a private secondary school in Iganga municipality, have been barred from sitting for their Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education [UACE] examinations over uncleared fees balances.
Senior Six candidates across the country started this year’s UACE examinations on Monday morning with History.
The students, armed with registration cards, pens and other writing materials, approached the examination centre expecting to sit for the History paper only to be told that they would not be allowed in the examination room.
After all efforts to grab the attention of the school administrators failed, the students quickly sought the intervention of the Iganga District Police Commander [DPC] and Resident District Commissioner [RDC].
RDC Eva Kwesiga, LC5 chairperson, Mr Patrick Kayemba and DPC, Mr David Ndaula, rushed to the school and engaged the administration for about one-and-a-half hours but the examinations master, Mr Wilson Isiko, stood his ground, triggering wails from the students.
Mr Kuzeima Buluma, one of the affected students, told police that they owed the school ‘small monies’ and it was therefore, unfair for the school management to stop them from sitting the examinations.
“Most of us owe the school less than Shs50,000. Our parents pleaded with the administration to allow us sit for the exams as we look for the money, but they refused,” Mr Buluma said.
“But why have they done this to us? Why have they made our studies a waste? It was very unfair,” one of the students asked amidst tears.
Mr Isiko said the students were warned to clear fees in time but they didn’t heed to the caution.
“We need money to pay teachers and run the school. We asked them to bring their parents and agree on how they will clear our fees balances but they didn’t,” he said.
Mr Kayemba, however, blamed the administration for acting in an ‘inhumane manner’.
“The students have studied from here for long and it was unfair for the administration to punish them like this,” he said.
Ms Kwesiga noted that the school administration was ‘poor’ and wondered how they managed to get an operating license.
“Is this school worth having a centre here anymore? The future of these children has been ruined and this is heart-breaking to both students and parents,” she said.
A total of fifty six students are said to have registered to sit for exams at the school.
Ms Kwesiga added that another student of King of Kings Secondary School was also not allowed to sit for exams over fees balances, bringing the number of those barred to sixteen.