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Parliament To Probe School Fees Increments Amid Skyrocketing Commodity Prices

Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa

Parliament’s Education Committee has been given two weeks to probe plans by school owners to increase fees on account of rising commodity prices.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa gave the directive after some lawmakers protested the move in government aided schools altering their fees structures.

“This is a matter that can run out of hand, and we don’t even satisfy our selves. So the Committee of Education, take it up and report back in two weeks time,” Tayebwa said.

His directive followed a complaint by Samuel Opio (Kole North) who tabled before Parlaiment fees structures of St Mary’s College Kisubi and Gayaza High School that have 28 items, with each student required to pay Shs598,000 to the board members each term.

“I have two fees structures of government aided schools, when you look at their fees structure, it has 28 items that are indicated. My prayer is to ask Government to standardize it  because if you are having 28 items, Board of Governors fees of Shs598,000 with a school of 100 children, that is Shs59.8Million going just to board of governors,” he said.

Opio warned that if Ministry of Education doesn’t intervene on the pending fees increment, this is going to worsen the secondary school enrollment in Uganda which stands at only 27.3%, while primary school enrollment is at 80%.

Opion added:  “There are also reported increases of school fees one of the worst affected segments are secondary schools. In other words, there is low secondary school enrollment and now we are having intended increase of school fees.

This is going to worsen the secondary school enrollment. My prayer is that Ministry of Education intervenes, earlier on, we received information that there were plans to lay statutory instruments to regulate school fees, which the education Act mandates the Ministry towards that effect.”

Minister of State for Primary Education, Joyce Kaducu acknowledged that the Ministry of education is aware of the upcoming skyrocketing fees increment and attributed the increment on the escalating prices of food and scholastic materials, which inflation hasn’t spared the Education sector.

“The Ministry has already put in place the statutory instrument which is being reviewed by Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

Indeed the issue of school fees is real, but as a Ministry we have taken measures to ensure that the school fees are within the framework for the parents either approved by the Board or the school management Committee,” said Kaducu.

However, the Minister’s response was rejected by Tayebwa who said parents and guardians shouldn’t be left at the mercy of school owners and urged Government to come up with measures to save parents from exaggerated items like paying board of governors.

The Deputy Speaker was backed by Sarah Opendi (DWR Tororo) who pointed out that most of these schools that have been mentioned are grant aided schools where government pays teachers and gives them funding, yet have turned out to be more expensive than the private schools.

She remarked: “It is high time this parliament sat and we would rather stop grant aid in these schools and recommend that this money goes to our seed schools.”

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