Luweero govt schools on the spot over exam fees

Equal Opportunities Commission chairperson Safia Nalule (right) hands over the report to Luweero Deputy CAO Martine Paul Igga on Tuesday. PHOTO/ DAN WANDERA

What you need to know:

  • Uneb set Shs34,000, Shs164,000 and Shs186,000 as registration fees for each of the candidates for PLE, UCE and UACE respectively, with an extra Shs15,000 and Shs18,000 charged for private candidates in the UCE and UACE levels, respectively.

Head teachers of government schools in Luweero District are on the spot for charging registration fees for the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) exams, contrary to the set guidelines.

A policy brief on service delivery in Luweero District released by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) on Tuesday indicates that more than 80 percent of the public schools in the area charge the Uneb fees.

The report delivered to Luweero District leaders by EOC Secretary Shaft Nasser Mukwaya on Tuesday, indicates that many schools under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programmes are also charging Uneb fees from private school candidates who they register as UPE candidates at their centres.

“A number of UPE schools register candidates from private schools and charge them Uneb registration fees, which is never remitted as expected,” the report states in part.

The EOC report also indicates that while the government pays school fees for students under the Universal Secondary Education (USE) programme, the seed secondary schools and the schools receiving support under USE came up with a school fees structure ranging between Shs250,000 and Shs480,000.

But a concerned head teacher at one of the seed schools in Luweero District claimed that the Shs290,000 that the parents are paying per term is for the “different school development projects,” and not school fees.

“It is true we charge some little money from our parents to facilitate the different school projects but this is not part of the school fees because the government caters for all our students’ school fees,” the head teacher, who preferred anonymity in order to speak freely, said.

This newspaper could not independently verify the exact number of candidates from private schools that were registered at the different UPE schools this year.

But a source at the Luweero District Internal Security Office reveals that the candidates from private schools are disguised and registered as government pupils and never declared to the authorities.

However, the head teachers  indicated that this is done in consultation with the district education office.

Other school heads interviewed claimed the ‘little’ money charged from candidates is meant to process their passport photographs and special upkeep for candidates during the examination period.

Luweero Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Martine Paul Igga said the extra charges are illegal and the district security committee will investigate the matter.

“The District Security Committee is going to investigate and bring to book all school heads among other officials involved,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.

In an interview on Tuesday, EOC chairperson Safia Juuko Nalule said the school fees and the Uneb registration fees charged are in breach of the Public Finance Management Act.

“It is good that the district has committed to handling the matter through the District Security Committee that will inform the next course of action,” she said.