Don calls for dialogue on school fees policy

Uganda Martyrs University Vice Chancellor Prof Patrick Kyamanywa (left) with Mr Bernard Robinson Magulu, the new president of the university alumni association, during a press briefing in Rubaga, Kampala, on January 28, 2023.PHOTO/SYLIVA KATUSHABE

What you need to know:

  • The policy continues to draw mixed reactions from parents, private school proprietors and government officials.

The Vice Chancellor of Uganda Martyrs University (UMU), Prof Patrick Kyamanywa, has said the government should consider holding more discussions with proprietors of private schools before the school fees policy is effected.
Prof Kyamanywa said since the needs of private and public schools are different, more discussions are needed to reach consensus before the government introduces the new fees policy.
 “To increase or not to increase fees are all suggestions that must be brought forward and engage stakeholders.  I know more stakeholders’ engagements with the government will take place in the near future. We are hopeful that we shall have consensus on the matter but what I know, the problems and needs of a private university and those of public universities are different,” he said.

He revealed this during the election of the new executive members of UMU Alumni Association at the Lubaga Campus in Kampala on Saturday.
The executive director of Bank of Africa, Mr Bernard R.  Magulu, was elected the new president of the association.

Prof Kyamanya said whereas public schools can easily access funding from the government, private schools rely on fees raised by learners and contributions from well-wishers and founding bodies, which in most cases are inadequate for the needs of the schools.  
“Uganda Martyrs University, for example, was founded by Uganda Episcopal Conference.  We need to have more discussions with the government and to see how we can take our education forward,” he said.     

The Schools Fees Regulation Policy, which is still being considered, sets the minimum and maximum schools fees and requirements all schools should follow. 
 Prof Kyamanywa commended the outgoing executive of UMU’s Alumni Association for spearheading a number of development projects, including initiating the construction of a structure that would house the Faculty of law at the Lubaga campus.
“We now need about Shs500 million to complete construction works.  The funds are hoped to be raised by the management of the university in partnership with the alumni association so that it can be handed over to the Faculty of Law on October 18, the day that the university will be celebrating 30 years of existence,” he said.

Mr Magulu said they will work as team to build on what they predecessors initiated.
He urged all alumni in different areas to contribute towards the growth of the university.
 He revealed that since its inception in 1993, a total of 30,000 have gone through the gates Uganda Martyrs University.

About fees policy
According to the policy, schools are slated to charge at least Shs260,000 or at most Shs1.6 million, depending on the nature of the schools, location, staff salaries, feeding of learners, and administration costs, among others. 

The policy continues to draw mixed reactions from parents, private school proprietors and government officials.
Whereas parents, who have not been spared by the cost of living crisis, and government are pushing for the implementation of the policy, school proprietors are worried it is likely to push them out of business since their budget heavily relies on fees paid by learners.

The Education ministry spokesperson, Mr Dennis Mugimba, recently told this publication that the move by the government to regulate school fees in private schools will be effected only after Cabinet has given guidance on the matter.