What you need to know:
- Most of the proprietors of the private schools have to obtain loan facilities to set up these schools and have to keep them running and at the same time pay back the loan facilities whose interest rates were never reduced but rather restructured in terms of payment after the lockdown. As a way to break even they opt to hike school fees.
Most of the private schools have increased school fees so as to meet the costs of running them yet the parents who pay fees were not spared either by the impact of the pandemic or the on-going war in Ukraine.
The government has tried to address the plight of those who are against the increment by coming up with a school fees regulation policy that sets maximum and minimum fees that schools should charge the least amount being Shs260,000 and the maximum being Shs1.6m only depending on the nature of expenses the schools incur.
I am cognizant of the fact that every person in Uganda has the right to practice his or her profession and to carry on any lawful occupation trade or business as provided for under Article 40 (2) of the 1995 Constitution as amended, so this gives the proprietors of these private schools mandate to run them with a business perspective in as much as the ministry of Education exercising its supervisory role over them.
It’s very evident that government schools are very much affordable compared to the private ones but oftentimes parents are very reluctant to enroll their children in such schools for obvious reasons, key among them being that the standard of education is so low which could also be because of other factors.
In terms of infrastructure it’s only a few government schools that are well set up with proper classrooms, dormitories for accommodating boarding students, transportation of students services for those who commute, health care at school through well equipped clinics or dispensaries, alternative power sources such as inverters, generators and solar systems, equipped computer and laboratory services and facilities for sports and games such as swimming pools, football pitches, tennis and basketball facilities etc. Majority of them fall short of the foregoing compared to the private schools.
If only the government could address some of these issues then public schools would be better placed to compete with private schools. Parents will probably be spoilt for choice of where to take their children and possibly they will resort to government schools that will be providing quality education and related services at a much lower rate.
Most of the proprietors of the private schools have to obtain loan facilities to set up these schools and have to keep them running and at the same time pay back the loan facilities whose interest rates were never reduced but rather restructured in terms of payment after the lockdown. As a way to break even they opt to hike school fees.
Schools should also desist from again demanding for material and fees that are not in any way directly related to scholastic materials i.e., cement, slashers, hoes, floor polish, and other building materials and also some charges are not necessary such as development fee, purchases of school buses or trucks yet most of these items can be covered under the school fees that are already high.
Parents should painfully make decisions and take their children to schools that they can afford until such a time when proper regulation of fees related to schools is made by the government.
Brian Kisomose, Advocate practicing law.