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Headteachers should be punished for increasing school fees-MPs

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Headteachers should be punished for increasing school fees-MPs

Members of Parliament want head teachers of government-aided schools who increase fees without permission from the Ministry of Education and Sports reprimanded.  

This came up on Tuesday, 23 August 2022 when MPs on the Committee of Education and Sports were meeting officials from the education ministry, led by the Minister of State for Higher Education, Hon. John Chrysostom Muyingo.

The committee is currently processing a motion seeking the government’s intervention in fees increment for government-aided schools, justification of statutory grants to government-aided schools and recruitment of sufficient teaching and non-teaching staff.

Committee chairperson, Hon. John Twesigye, wondered why the ministry does not take disciplinary action against head teachers of government-aided schools who increase fees arbitrarily.  

“These are the people whom you recruit. The problem we are trying to address is a matter that affects all of us. We are all parents. St. Mary’s College Kisubi charged Shs2.5 million last term and they plan to increase this term,” he said.

Busia Municipality MP Hon. Godfrey Macho blamed the increment of school fees on the laxity of the ministry in inspecting schools and failure to discipline errant head teachers.   

“The committee should invite head teachers to explain why they are increasing school fees. We have ministers but they do not have authority over teachers,” said Macho.

He also tasked the ministry to provide a list of all government-aided schools with their respective fees structures.

“Kawempe Muslim School is less than three kilometres from the Ministry of Education and Sports and it is one of the government-aided schools charging exorbitant school fees. Each student pays Shs2 million per term. Is the government aware of this?” he wondered.

The committee vice chairperson, Hon. Cuthbert Abigaba, accused head teachers of increasing school fees without consulting parents.

“Which schools have you given permission to increase fees? I am a parent of Nabisunsa Girls Secondary School and the school increased fees for next term by Shs500,000. We did not even get a circular informing us of the increment,” Abigaba said.

The Shadow Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Brenda Nabukenya, asked if any schools seek permission from the education ministry before they make increments.

“The Statutory instrument to regulate school fees is not yet ready and the third term is about to begin. We thought by now, we would have the statutory instrument ready. We need the minister to inform us about the time frame within which this instrument will be ready,” said Nabukenya.

The Chairperson of the Education Service Commission, Rev. Prof. Dr Samuel Luboga, said that his office is willing to take disciplinary action against head teachers who increase school fees without permission.

“The issue of non-compliance by head teachers is a disciplinary matter. We only await submission from the Ministry of Education and once they submit, we take the necessary action,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Ketty Lamaro, said that her office received requests for fees increments from Buddo Senior Secondary School and Gayaza High School, which schools were advised to re-prioritise and they complied.

“Some schools have told us that they increase fees because they have a large acreage of land which require maintenance. Others say they focus on science subjects which are expensive to teach. Some schools base increment on sanitation, after shifting from using pit latrines to flush toilets,” Lamaro said.

She explained that it is difficult to regulate fees increment without the statutory instrument, which she said is currently being reviewed by the Solicitor General.

Sarah Biryomumaisho is a multitalented freelance journalist with 10 years of experience in broadcast and publishing. She has worked with several radio stations and online publications. Twitter; https://twitter.com/BiryomumaishoB

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