What you need to know:
In most schools, the charges for new entrants in Senior One and Senior Five are relatively the same.
Parents will have to dig deeper into their Covid-hit pockets to pay fees for their children after most schools countrywide increased charges in disregard of a recent government directive.
According to Daily Monitor investigation, even traditional schools, have had their tuition for new entrants in both Senior One and Senior Five raised to above Shs1m, citing high cost of living and Covid-induced debts.
A circular issued by management of Kings College, Budo last week , states a top up of between Shs844,000 and Shs988,000 to be paid by each continuing student, will enable the school to clear outstanding debts .
Management explained that their coffers were depleted while erecting both the perimeter fence and head teacher’s house during lockdown.
“…the biggest challenge has been the paying and servicing of the loan we acquired for the two projects. The school tried its level best to pay till when almost all the savings had been depleted .The loan was halted on 30/09/2021,but it has since been accumulating interest. Therefore, for the school to run smoothly, the board of governors resolved that a top up on school fees is paid to salvage the situation,” the circular reads.
Other such as Kawempe Muslim SS defended their new fees structure, saying it is not exorbitant as being portrayed by some parents.
“ We are cognisant of the current economic situation in the country and maintained our fees at Shs.1.2m for new entrants. If there is any increment, it is in requirements like sanitisers which students cannot live without during the current situation ,” Mr Buruhane Mugerwa, the head teacher, said last week.
Government has repeatedly warned all schools against hiking their fees ahead of the reopening of schools next week.
The Education Permanent Secretary, Ms Ketty Lamaro, last week issued Covid-19 emergency guidelines and ordered that “Education institutions shall not increase fees from what was charged for first term 2020.”
She also asked schools to avoid implementing major infrastructure development and asset acquisition budgets that are funded from parents’ contribution.
Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo , the state Minister for Higher Education, said for any school to hike fees, management has to first seek permission and inform the ministry, stating reasons why they are planning to do so.
The minister said those who ignore the warning will have their licences revoked.
During investigations, Daily Monitor didn’t see any evidence of the permission given to the schools before increasing fees.
The minister condemned insensitivity of some schools and reminded those that have hiked fees that the whole economy was badly affected by Covid -19 restrictions.
At St Mary’s College, Kisubi, a new student is required to pay Shs2.8m concluding all requirements. These include Shs23, 000 for sports and games, swimming pool (Shs22, 000), computer (23,000), internet ( Shs16,000) , Parents Teachers Association meetings (Shs10,000) and academic guidance fee ( Shs82,000).
The school will also charge Shs72,000 for water, sanitary (Shs20,000), aqua toilet (Shs38,000), renovation ( Shs80,000), development fee ( Shs160,000) .
New students also have to pay Shs15,500 as Church fee and another Shs70,000 for provincial education secretariat .
At Kennedy SS Kawuku, Entebbe Road, where management has raised tuition from Shs800,000 to Shs900,000, Mr George Bamuleseyo, the head teacher, said the increment will cater for extra two weeks added in the term.
But Mr Ishaka Mbalirwa, the head teacher of Madina Islamic SS, Nsangi said due to the pandemic, they have been forced to reduce tuition by Shs50,000 to enable parents return children to the school .
“We were charging Shs850,000 but because of Covid, students will be paying Shs800,000 in the subsequent terms until the situation normalises,” he said.
Senior Two students had just reported to school before the time the government announced a second lockdown in June, according to the Ministry of Education, these learners should not pay fees this coming term.
But Mr Bamuleseyo said a good number of Senior Two students had not cleared school fees and they will handle this on a case- by- case basis.
Mr John Baptist Tusiime , the director of Studies at St Henry’s College, said: “Our students were paying Shs1.5m which also covers all the requirements and being a government-aided school ,we are likely to maintain that.”
Mr Johnson Mayanja, the director of Western High School in Masindi District, said they are increasing school fees to effectively cater for the learners.
The school has increased tuition fees by Shs200,000 from Shs300,000 per term beginning next year.
The head teacher of New Hope Primary School, Nkokonjeru in Buikwe District, Mr Martin Mulumba, said the increment is between Shs10, 000 and Shs20,000 to enable them cope with rising commodity prices as well as recruiting new teachers.
For instance pupils in Primary Six who were paying Shs350,000 will now pay Shs370,000 while primary candidates will pay Shs400,000 up from Shs380,000.
“We all know that prices of essential commodities went up, but on top of that, we need to give a top up allowance of teachers to entice them to come back since many are now doing their own businesses,” he said.
When contacted yesterday, Minister Muyingo wondered how schools arrived at the decision to raise tuition fees before their management committees approved the fees.
“Increasing school fees has processes which have to be followed including sitting of school board of governors or management committees to endorse the increment. I doubt whether such organs have sat to approve that [new fees structure] , those who have raised fees could be acting illegally and we are going to investigate them,” the minister said.
He added: “Even hiding it [increment] in school requirements is also illegal, we have been clear on this and we don’t think any sensible school heads can go against it.”
Mr Elias Agaba, the head teacher of Tooro Parents Education Centre Fort Portal, said they are maintaining the fees structure and pupils in lower primary will pay Shs308,300 while those in upper primary and boarding section will pay Shs368,300 and Shs688,300 respectively.
In most schools, the charges for new entrants in Senior One and Senior Five are relatively the same.
The proprietor for Halcyon High Schools, Ms Hellen Adoa, who is also the State minister for Fisheries, said for O-Level they have maintained the fees at Shs497,000 and Shs530,000 for A-Level.
She revealed that students at other campuses in Serere District will pay Shs375,000.
Ms Sandra Nabakiibi, a parent in Masaka City, said the tuition increment is a big burden to parents whose businesses are already battled by Covid pandemic restrictions.
Ms Nabakiibi said one of her three sons, who is joining Senior One, at one of the top boys’ schools in the area, has been asked to bring five kilogrammes of sugar, two bars of soap and a myriad of other requirements on top of the Shs1.9m school fees. Ms Josephine Namugonza, a parent of learner at St Henry’s Kitovu, said: “The school where my son is joining for Senior Five wants me to pay half of the fees before reporting but there are already signals that another wave of Covid is around the corner. This is my greatest fear and we risk losing our hard-earned money again.”
Mr Levi Abongo, the deputy head teacher in-charge of administration at St Katherine Secondary School in Lira City, said: “Our school fees remains the same, with Senior One paying Shs551,600, Senior Two Shs480,800, Senior Three Shs486,800, Senior Five Shs567,900 and Senior Six Shs575,800.”
Mr Patrick Okwir Angulo, the head teacher of Kangai Secondary School in Dokolo District, said students who will not have cleared school fees on the reporting date will be allowed to study.
Most schools in western Uganda are not increasing fees, especially private schools for fear of failing to attract learners.
“We are not sure whether our former students are coming back because of Covid-19 effects, some got married off, some got jobs and are no longer interested in education. It is after reopening that we will consider increasing fees,” Mr Boaz Mwebeze, the head teacher of Rwampara Progressive School, said.
Mr Laban Kanywa, the chairperson of Federation of Non State Institutions in Western Uganda, also head teacher of Global High School in Mbarara City, told Daily Monitor that the move by the government to regulate the school fees may not be possible because of funding gaps.
“There is no way the government can stop schools from increasing fees when the prices of goods and services remain high. Its funding remains the same for UPE and USE students. This is very impracticable unless the government is telling us, especially private schools to close down,” Mr Kanywa said.
He said even some schools that claim not to have increased fees are bothering parents with indirect costs such as church fees, building fund, development, fees for remedial lessons, and buying items reams of papers and brooms.
Early this year, Muyingo said the ministry was reviewing the education policy to see that all schools including private schools charge uniform fees.
He said the proposed changes will bring inclusive education for all regardless of parent’s financial status.
Some of the schools
King's College ,Budo
St Mary's College, Kisubi
Shs 1.5m (S.1entrants)
Shs2.8m (S.1 entrants)
Shs.2.8m( S.5 entrants)
Shs3m (S.5 entrants )
Shs 800,000(S.1& S.5 entrants)
Shs900,000( S.1&S.5 entrants)
Shs 850,000(S.1& S.5 entrants)
Western High School, Masindi
New Hope P/S, Buikwe
Shs 350,000 (tuition fees)
Bugema Adventist SS, Luweero
Shs1m (S.1-S.3), Shs 1m (S.5) ,Shs 1.2m ( S.4 &S.6) , Shs100,000(admission fee S.1 -3 & S.5)
Royal College Namugongo
Shs650,000( A-Level boarding ),Shs350,000( A-Level Day scholars) ,$300 ( international students)
Shs600,000( O-Level boarding ) ,Shs300,000( O-level Day scholars) ,$350 ( international students)
Shs uniforms Shs200,000(boarding ) ,Shs150,000( day scholars) , Shs150,000( international students
Uganda Marytrs High School Lubaga
Shs1.6m ( S.1,2,3 & 5 boarding ) , Shs1m ( S.1,2,3 &5 Day scholars)
Shs100,000 ( admission fee)
Compiled by Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Robert Muhereza, Richard Kyanjo , Bill Oketch ,Patrick Ebong, Alex Ashaba,Ambrose Musasizi, Fred Muzaale, Ismail Bategeka,Joseph Omollo, Denis Edema, Fred Wambede , Rajab Mukombozi,Kiggundu Milton Bandiho , Ronald Kabanza ,Simon Emwamu &Jessica Sabano