Schools seek govt permission to increase fees

Students in class at Kakungulu Memorial Secondary School in Kibuli, Kampala on January 10. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Despite the public outcry and the ministry’s directive, some private schools and government-aided schools have already increased their charges before being cleared.

With only six days left to the official opening of second term, government has said it is receiving requests for fees increment from some private and government aided schools to help cope with the increasing cost of living.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr Dennis Mugimba, confirmed that head teachers from different private schools have submitted their fees increment applications to the office of the Permanent Secretary for consideration.

Mr Mugimba said he was yet to establish the number of schools that have so far submitted their requests.

“We have had some schools write to the Permanent Secretary as the normal process for requesting for an increment. The ministry has even interfaced with some head teachers but I’m not certain of the number of schools that have so far made that application. I don’t have that data with me now,” Mr Mugimba said.

Last year, 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.

Despite the public outcry and the ministry’s directive, some private schools and government-aided schools have already increased their charges before being cleared. 

During first term for example, some schools made an increment of between Shs300,000 and Shs600,000, raising concern from parents, whose economic stability had been shattered mainly by the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

The school managers defended the move, saying they wanted to cater for different needs, including refurbishing structures that had not been operational for almost two years and paying back the soft loans that the schools had acquired.

Mr Mugimba said such schools were directed to revise the fees and that some of them apologised to government for having defied the ministry’s directive.

“The Permanent Secretary met with them and they committed to go back and revise the charges that they had put. They even expressed regrets of not following the procedure and willingness to engage with parents,” he said.

He said for any schools to make any increment, they must first consult parents and agree before sending their requests to the ministry for consideration.

He said the Ministry of Education had developed a statutory instrument that would help to regulate fees charged by different schools.

Ms Ketty Lamaro, the Education Permanent Secretary,  told this publication yesterday that her ministry would give its stand on the issue of increasing school fees within this week.

“We intend to provide a statement on that issue,” Ms Lamaro said.
 

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