Schools defy govt directive on tuition

P.7 pupils with handouts of ‘Excel in PLE’ during revision at Kitukutwe Church of Uganda Primary School in Kira, Wakiso District, on October 27, 2022. PHOTO/FRANK BAGUMA

What you need to know:

  • Parents who have not been spared by the cost-of-living crisis will have to dig deeper into their pockets to give their children education.

A number of schools—both at primary and secondary levels—have hiked their fees ahead of the start of the first term in a fortnight, a survey undertaken by this newspaper reveals.

The increment runs counter to the Education ministry’s directive barring schools from making any adjustments as the cost-of-living crisis rages on. The schools say the impending fees hikes are triggered by the current inflationary pressures.

Parents, who have not been spared the cost-of-living crisis will have to dig deeper into their pockets to give their children an education. Our survey shows that some schools in Wakiso, Mukono and Kampala have increased fees from anywhere between Shs100,000 and Shs600,000.

St Theresa Boarding school has for instance increased fees from Shs1.2 million to Shs1.6 million. 
St Mary’s Kitende students will pay Shs2.49 million up from Shs2.27 million while Namilyango Junior School has increased from its fees Shs1.1 million to Shs1.2 million on top of the Shs 230,000 for requirements. Seeta High school in Mukono increased its fees to Shs1.9 million.

Dr Joyce Kaducu, the junior Education minister, in an interview with the Daily Monitor yesterday said Parliament and Cabinet will discuss the matter exhaustively with the goal of coming up with a lasting solution.

“Since most parents are struggling financially, we need to come up with a solution to prevent school dropouts,” she said.  

A parent with a child at Boston High School-Mpala in Entebbe, who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of being pinned by the school administration, said pupils risk ending up in “schools with low standards but with affordable fees.” 

The parent urged the government to “come out strongly on this issue and save us from this menace.”
In 2021, the Education ministry issued a circular barring private schools from hiking fees. The communication that was embedded under the ‘Express Permission’ sought to bar private institutions from increasing school fees or any other charges without permission from the Education ministry.

The decision was informed by the fact that the pandemic and current cost of living crisis has left many parents in impossible situations financially.

Early this month, Mr Hasadu Kirabira—the chairperson of the National Private Education Institution Association (NPEIA)—scoffed at the Education ministry policy that put caps on fees across different levels. Mr Kirabira said, if left unchecked, the policy will push private proprietors out of business.
In the countryside, schools too have increased fees.

In Yumbe District, Mr Ratib Atiku— the headteacher of Aringa SS—told this newspaper that the school struggled to complete 2022 after inflationary pressures made school expenses prohibitively high. It didn’t help matters that parents were constrained by limited resources.

“Due to the high cost of commodities ranging from fuel to food stuff, we had interactions with stakeholders and agreed that we adjust the fees structure for this year,” he said of the impending hike, adding, “We have increased Shs55,000 for the boarding section and Shs35,000 for day scholars.”

Mr Charles Ondoga, the headmaster St Joseph’s College Ombaci, said the school has increased the fees structure from Shs700,000 to Shs794,000 because of operational costs.

“The board of governors and PTA (Parents-Teachers Association) agreed that the fees be increased because of prevailing economic conditions. We factored in everything and as you know, the prices of everything have gone up,” he said.

At Kochi Secondary school, fees have been increased by Shs58,000. Mr Daudi Dada, the head teacher, says the students were paying Shs86,000 (boarding and Shs85,000 (day).

Sr. Gladyce Kachope, the headteacher of Immaculate Heart Girls Nyakibale, told us that they increased the School fees by Shs50,000 to enable them to cope with the current situation.

“The cost of running schools has increased. The whole school was paying Shs1.1 million, but starting with this coming term they will be paying Shs1.2 million,” she revealed.

The headteacher St Gerald’s Secondary school, Narasisio Byaruhanga, confirmed that they only increased School fees for boarding students.

“We have increased fees by Shs40,000 for boarders and the rest will keep paying the same school as last term. The boarders were paying Shs450,000, but this [forthcoming] term they will pay Shs490,000,” Byaruhanga said.