MPs task Education to regulate school fees

Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the State Minister for Primary Education.  

What you need to know:

  • The legislators note that  if schools are left to determine their fees, it will worsen the already low enrollment. 

Members of Parliament yesterday raised a red flag on a prospective plan by learning institutions to hike school fees, saying this could deal negative consequences to the number of school-going children.

Legislators asked the leadership of the Ministry of Education and Sports to exercise its mandate to regulate school charges. 

Last month, Monitor reported that private schools across the country plan to increase tuition by as much as 10 percent for next term, citing astronomical rise in food prices.

Rising on a matter of national importance, Kole North MP Samuel Opio said the unsupervised determination of fees predisposes learners and parents to unwarranted charges.

Mr Opio, citing a low enrolment rate of 27.3 per cent for secondary schools said the hike will worsen the situation.

“There is low secondary school enrollment and now we are having intended increases in school fees.

This is going to worsen enrollment. My prayer is that the Ministry of Education intervenes,” he said.
Mr Opio also wants the government to standardise the fees structure across all schools.

But the spotlight during yesterday’s debate was also extended to government-aided schools, which legislators said charge even higher than private schools.

Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi said the government grants to such schools should be scrapped and channelled to seed schools that provide free education.

“These are government-aided schools but you find that they charge more than private schools,” Ms Opendi said.

The State Minister for Education, Dr Joyce Kaducu, who confirmed the pending fees hike, told the House that the government had, basing on their mandate in the Education Act 2008, submitted a statutory instrument regarding the matter to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs for scrutiny.

The minor details as provided by the minister, however, indicated that the instrument will do little in capping the charges.

“There are procedures for any school to increase fees through the board of governors, the school management committee which has got a representative of the parents and other stakeholders,” Ms Kaducu said. 

“As a ministry, we have taken measures to ensure the school fees are within the framework as approved by the board of governors or the committee,” she added.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, who chaired the session responded: “But you are leaving it to these people, the board of governors, to go and determine whatever they want.”

Mr Tayebwa tasked the Education committee to investigate the issue and report back to the House in two weeks.