Crown High School fails to open over Shs7m debt

A classroom block at Crown High School in Kamwenge District. The school has failed to open for the first term over failure to pay rent. PHOTO/ALEX ASHABA

Crown High School in Kamwenge District has failed to open for the first term after the proprietors allegedly failed to pay rent amounting to Shs7 million.

The school has been operating an O-Level section since 2020. Last year, 38 Senior Four candidates sat for the Uganda Certificate of Education at Kichwamba Secondary school in Kitagwenda District because they lacked a centre number.

A teacher at the school, who preferred anonymity, said by the end of the third term last year, the school had 170 students.

He said in January, the school administrators told them to look for jobs in other schools because the institution was not going to operate due to rental arrears.

“Each term, we have been paying Shs2.5 million, but the school did not pay any money to the landlord and that is why they cannot open again, we have talked to some parents and advised them to take their children to other schools,” he said yesterday.

The source added that parents complied with the school’s advice and enrolled their children at Mpanga SS, Kamwenge SS and Bishop Balya Girls.

When this publication visited the school on Monday, only a security guard was found lying in the bushy compound while the rest of other classes were closed. 

The Kamwenge District Inspector of Schools, Mr Stephen Balinaitwe, said his office was not aware of the school closure. He said he would visit the school to ascertain what happened.

“Last term, I visited the school and found it in operation, but this year, I had not visited the school because the term has just started,” he said.

Mr James Tusiime, a parent from Kamwenge Town, said it’s unfortunate to see the school close yet it had started enrolling students from privileged families.

“I was planning to go there and look for the vacancy of my child who completed Primary Seven last year, but I was told that the school closed, the government should start supporting such schools which are starting because the majority were affected by Covid-19,” he said.

The former acting school head teacher, Mr Everist Busobozi, said when he asked the school directors about the plans to open for the first term, he was told that they are settling some issues with the landlord.

“I was the acting head teacher, but all the things were done by the directors and when we failed to open for the first term, I moved on to look for another job,” he said.

The school has been renting the premises of the former Maranatha Health Centre, which was relocated to Fort Portal. The facilities were built by whites.

The director of Crown High School, Mr Silver Twesigye, on Monday declined to speak to this paper. He didn’t answer our repeated phone calls nor replied to our messages by press time.