What you need to know:
- Many head teachers say they had to cater for the extra expenses that involve observing the standard operating procedures.
Following President Museveni’s pronouncement allowing learners in semi-candidate classes to report back to school on March 1, many private and government-funded schools across the country have hiked their tuition fees to cope with the rising operational costs occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Semi-candidate classes include Primary Six, Senior Three, and Senior Five.
However, a few schools have maintained their previous fees structures.
Mr Wycliff Makky Twinomujuni, the head teacher of Kashenyi Secondary School, a government-aided school in Ruhinda Sub-county, Rukungiri District, said they increased fees from Shs400,000 to Shs450,000 to cater for extra expenses arising out of the need to observe Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) for learners and their teachers.
“....We have to buy extra beds, cater for remedial lessons, sanitisers and facemasks,” he said.
President Museveni during the televised address last week observed that schools should observe the SOPs as they wait for the vaccines, which are scheduled to arrive in the country before the end of this month.
“We are putting much effort into getting the Covid-19 vaccine. We are preparing to start the vaccinations at the end of February or early March. We shall start with the health workers, security personnel, teachers, and then the elders,” he said.
Mr Arthur Agaba, the head teacher of Makobore High School in Rukungiri District, said they have increased from Shs600,000 to Shs700, 000 to create more space for accommodation.
In Bushenyi, Mr Perez Basiime, the headteacher of Parental Care Primary School, a private school, said they maintained their fees.
“For us here, we have a five-year plan and our parents know that, and after that period, we will sit and review whether we increase the fees,” he said.
Mr Celestine Twinomugisha, the head master St Kagwa Primary School in Bushenyi District, said they could not increase fees because some parents are yet to clear first term arrears.
“There are parents who had debts from the first term before the country was locked down and they have not paid. Parents don’t have the money,” he said.
In Lira, St Gracious Secondary School has also increased fees from Shs779, 000 to Shs879,000 for Senior Three and Senior Five. Mr Charles Ogwang, a parent at the school, said they were not consulted on the increment.
The Lango College school head teacher, Mr Sammy Bob Okino, said they could not increase fees because some parents can not afford even the current fees of Shs450,000.
In Masaka, Hajji Meddie Mutebi, the head teacher of KY Day and Boarding Primary School, said the school will not increase school fees since parents have also not been working as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions .
He said Primary Six pupils will pay Shs685,000, which they paid last year while Primary Seven candidates are paying Shs830,000.
At Ibin Salaam Islamic Primary School-Nyendo, Mr Sulaiman Isabirye, the head teacher, said they have slightly increased school fees to meet the extra expenses.
Previously, pupils in all classes were paying Shs400,000 but candidates and semi-candidates will now pay Shs430,000 as their school fees.
At Rich Dad Junior School, Najjanankumbi in Kampala, the learners in day section who have been paying Shs900,000 per term will now pay Shs1.2m.
“The fees have been increased to try to cope with the effects of the lockdown, which left the school with accumulated debts,” Mr Hood Kiggundu, the school head teacher, said.
Mr George Bamuleseyo, the head teacher at Kennedy Secondary School in Kawuku on Entebbe Road, said they will not increase fees.
In Mityana District, many schools declined to reveal their fees structures for the reporting semi candidate classes. However Ms Sylvia Namabidde, Director St Elizabeth Girls SS in Mityana Town, said her school will not raise fees. “Through our association, we are appealing to the government to give us the promised stimulus package to cushion us against the financial problems occasioned by Covid-19 and avoid pushing the burden to the parents,” she said.
In some government-aided schools in villages, few pupils were wearing facemasks and some who had them were not wearing them properly.
In Namutumba District, Ms Prossy Muyinda, the director of Victoria Primary School, said they maintained the fees structure for both day and boarding section.
Kibaale High School in Namutumba District said they have not changed their fees structure “because most of their parents are poor”.
Surprisingly, some schools such as Musana Vocational High School in Iganga District said they have instead lowered fees for students preparing to report in March.
Mr Samuel Tusubira, a parent, said: “I was surprised when they told us to pay Shs650,000 instead of Shs800, 000 we have been paying.”
In Buikwe District, the head teacher St Noa Mawaggali Senior Secondary School in Njeru Municipality, Mr Leonard Ssali, said following a meeting with the departmental head, they resolved not to increase fees. The same situation prevailed at MM College Wairaka in Jinja, Tororo Girls School, Mbale Progressive School and Mbale Secondary School.
Mr Valentine Obbo, a head teacher of Tropical College, a private school in Tororo, said they would meet with parents to agree on the fees structure.
The head teacher of St Kizito primary school in Tororo Municipality, Ms Clare Adikin Opoya, asked the government to increase grants for schools.
In Kabarole District, the Director of St Lucia High school, Ms Lucia Alinda, said the school will maintain the fees.
Tooro Parents Education Centre in Fort Portal will maintain the old fees.
In Gulu, Mr James Ocira, the head teacher of Good Hope Nursery and Primary school, said they are not yet decide on whether to increase fees or not.
Gulu Central High School said parents were already complaining about the current fees structure and the school will not increase the fees.
In Kisoro District, the headmaster of St Paul’s Mutolere SSm Mr Hygiene Behaisye, said although they have not increased fees, his school is facing financial challenges.
What the ministry says on hiking fees...
Meanwhile there is panic among education stakeholders that private schools will ask for prohibitive tuition fees.
The panic was escalated by Education Minister Janet Museveni’s statement that the ministry has no control over tuition fees rates, leaving parents at the mercy of individual institutions.
“We can’t say we will manage that at a ministry level. I can’t talk about how the tuition will be. The schools will be able to inform the parents how tuition will be, how they can account which semester or term when they get to school. Technical team will be on standby where to intervene,” Ms Museveni said last Friday.
Compiled by Fred Wambede, Bill Oketch, Milton Bandiho, Ronald Kabanza, Patrick Ebong, Philip Wafula, Ronald Seebe, Sandra Babirye, Denis Edema, Abubaker Kirunda, Robert Muhereza, Leonard Mbishinzimana,Alex Ashaba, Suzan Nanjala ,Malik Fahad Jjingo, Jessica Nabukenya ,Felix Warom, Rashul Adidi and Scovin Iceta.