Top traditional secondary schools have maintained high cut-off points for Senior One admissions.
The head teachers said this was because competition remained relatively high in some individual schools receiving more applicants than they can admit.
For example, St Henry’s College Kitovu, maintained its cut-off points at Aggregate Six just like their colleagues at Maryhill High School and Ndejje SS.
Brother Augustine Mugabo, the head teacher of St Henry’s College Kitovu, said they received 1,205 applications but the school has capacity for only 140 students.
Brother Mugabo said there are 67 candidates who scored Aggregate Six and gave the school their first choice but still could not be taken because of limited facilities.
“There are students who have been disadvantaged even when they did well. We have sold 67 of them because our capacity in Senior One is 140 students,” he said.
The school administrators gathered yesterday at Uganda Manufacturers Association Hall in Lugogo to select successful candidates in last year’s Primary Leaving Examinations for Senior One admissions.
King’s College Budo was the most competitive with boys joining required to have scored Aggregate Four against the girls (Aggregate Five).
However, majority of the schools relaxed their entry points to accommodate students following a decline in performance.
Performance dropped from 91.4 per cent in 2018 to 90.4per cent last year. Out of 695,804 pupils who registered for PLE, 617,150 passed.
But Mr Benson Kule, the Ministry of Education selection committee chairman, said 564,856 students will have been placed in various schools at the end of the two-day exercise that ends today.
“Ensure those unselected students but who qualify are admitted,” Mr Kule said.
The State Minister for Education, Ms Rosemary Seninde, appealed to schools not to increase fees because it hinders students from continuing with their education.
“No school should increase tuition unless they have permission. There must be clear justification. I appreciate that money is important, but it is not the only factor to good performance. There are schools with the money but the results don’t show improvement. It is what managers are able to do and how they do it. Set targets and be accountable,” she said.
Data Daily Monitor obtained indicate that schools implementing government’s free education are charging between Shs100,000 and Shs500,000 per student.
The teachers said the money is intended to facilitate the students’ feeding.
Private schools ask for more than Shs800,000 as fees although parents said the schools are not honest in disclosing their tuition fees.
“The head teachers are also ashamed to tell the truth. We pay Shs2m in some schools and that is without school requirements,” a parent at Gayaza High School said.
Ms Seninde said government has phased out its partnership with private schools implementing USE and used the money to increased the capitation grants from Shs41,000 per term per student to Shs55,000.
She said government supplements the amount by paying salaries and constructing classrooms and laboratories.
Some head teachers from upcountry accused their town counterparts of not taking the selection exercise seriously.
“We come here to interact and find out how they do it. But where are they? They leave their desks and return to their schools. We can’t easily get children who have been unselected because they have gone back to their stations. This system needs to be revisited,” a head teacher, who requested anonymity, said.
By Patience Ahimbisibwe, Derrick Wandera, Irene Abalo Otto, Elizabeth Kamurungi, Damali Mukhaye & Shabibah Nakirigya