Cabinet yet to decide on school fees policy

Pupils share food during lunchtime at school. Private schools are set to increase fees. Photo / Joseph Kiggundu

What you need to know:

  • Schools are expected to open for First Term on February, 6.

Parents will have to bear the brunt of school fees increment as the Education ministry waits for Cabinet to give its final position on the schools fees regulation policy that aims to regulate school fees in schools.

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

The Schools Fees Regulation Policy, which is still being considered, sets the minimum and maximum schools fees and requirements all schools should follow. 

The 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, administration costs, among others.

“Until Cabinet guides us, we are not moving a single step,” Mr Mugimba said. 
The Minister of State for ICT and National Guidance, Mr Godfrey Kabbyanga, in a statement yesterday, said the education policy was not among the issues discussed during last Monday’s Cabinet meeting.

The progressive increment of school fees continues to raise concern among Ugandans and the government.
 A mini survey conducted by this publication last week shows that some schools in Wakiso, Mukono and Kampala areas have increased fees by between Shs100, 000 and Shs600, 000.

In a telephone interview with Monitor last week, Mr Yusuf Muziransa, the spokesperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission, a government agency mandated to fight discrimination and inequality in all its form, said since some parents say they cannot afford to pay fees that some schools are levying, it is government’s responsibility to ensure the fees are commensurate to the economic situation in the country.

“Some schools are saying they will not accept to go by that policy. A policy is a law and once it is passed, it is effected. Schools have to respect it and if they don’t, the repercussion are there. They can be closed,” Mr Muziransa said.

“If we let schools hike fees, there is a section of people who will not afford school fees and, therefore, will be left out. Many learners might drop out of school and at the end of the day, this creates marginalization and discrimination,” he added.

The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, also tasked government to exercise its regulatory role and ensure no arbitrary school fees increments are effected. 

Addressing journalists at their offices in Kampala early this month, Mr Hasadu Kirabira, the chairperson of the National Private Education Institution Association, said if left unchecked, the policy will push private proprietors out of business.

Schools are expected to open for First Term on February, 6.