PARLIAMENT. No school, whether private or government, will be allowed to increase school fees without authorisation from government, State Minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo has said.
This is being done to make education affordable.
He made the communication in Parliament yesterday while responding to a matter raised by the Mukono South Member of Parliament Jackson Muyanja Ssenyonga, who cited instances of high school fees charges, which he (Mr Ssenyonga) said was denying access to basic and secondary education to a number of learners.
He warned that government would institute stringent measures for breach of the ministry guidelines.
“No school, private or government, shall increase school fees for whatever reason without written authorisation from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports and/or Chief Administrative Officer/Town Clerk as the case may be,” Mr Muyingo asserted.
He added: “Other cash and non-cash requirements outside the approved school fees structures are strictly prohibited [and that] all non-cash items must be catered for in the school budget.”
The directives, Mr Muyingo said, are contained in the ministry’s guidelines issued both to schools and members of the public.
Mr Muyanja also faulted the government for neglecting its objectives of providing affordable quality education for all and increasing equitable access to primary and post-primary education. He said whereas the ministry takes into consideration the liberalised nature of the economy, the schools must adhere to guidelines.
“Schools implementing Universal Primary Education (UPE), Universal Secondary Education (USE) and Universal Post O-Level Education and Training (LIPOLET) shall strictly adhere to the policy implementation guideline,” read the minister’s statement in part.
The statement also adds: “Where parents decide and agree to contribute towards an emergency in the school and permission is sought and granted by the Permanent Secretary, no learner shall be excluded from school on account of parent’s failure to pay the agreed amount.”
In such situation, the school should stop charging the emergency fund as soon as the emergency is solved,” Mr Muyingo said.
The minister insisted that since the guidelines have been issued to the stakeholders, it is now incumbent upon the leaders, including MPs, to sensitise their communities and school management committees about the government position.
He also said the leaders should reciprocate this responsibility by alerting the ministry of Education about violators.
“The MPs should alert the ministry of any school or institution which flouts the above guidelines so that stern disciplinary action can be taken against it,” Mr Muyingo said.
However, despite the official position of the government, many schools have continued to charge exorbitant dues, in terms of tuition and non-tuition items.