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Schools defy government, raise tuition fees

KAMPALA-Schools have defied government against increasing tuition fees and asking parents to bring scholastic materials.

At Setlight Quality Secondary School in Entebbe, a circular to parents with children joining Senior One, demands Shs25,000 as admission fees, Shs450,000 for tuition, up from Shs400,000 last year, a ream of paper or Shs20,000.

Other items include textbooks; MK Secondary Mathematics, Comprehensive English Book 1 and 2, mopping rag, knife, non-electric iron box, rubber squeezer, box file, Shs70,000 for folder file, saloon, identity card, visitor’s card, games, clubs and medical fees.
Another Shs240, 000 is to be paid to the school for uniforms as no student will be allowed to improvise.

Mr James Turiho, a father of four, expressed worry whether his children will go far in their education if there is no intervention.

With a monthly salary of Shs600, 000, he said he can’t even afford fees and requirements for one of the children expected to report to their respective schools for the first term today.

“I have four children and they must all report back to school tomorrow (today). I don’t know whether these school owners want us to educate our children. The things they ask for are too many.

I have asked two of my children to wait for two weeks as I first look for some more money to pay at least something on their fees because they will not be allowed in. I am going to plead with the school for this one going in Senior One since I have paid half and bought a few of the items,” Mr Turiho shared yesterday.

Silverspoon Primary School administration also increased tuition fees by Shs100,000 from last year’s Shs800,000 and a list of books they want every pupil to “donate” to the school library.

Nursery section pupils are expected to buy Fountain Handwriting for Beginners Book 1 and 2, My School Book 1, My Body Book 2, Mary’s Doll and Our Village. For Primary One pupils, the school wants Fountain Thematic Curriculum Mathematics Book 1.

Primary Two pupils will take Kobta Literacy Book Two; Primary Three pupils need Christian Religious Education Book Three while Primary Four learners will go with St Bernard Integrated Science Book, an atlas for Primary Five, MK Mathematics New Edition Book for Primary Six and Sure Key to English Book for Primary Seven candidates.

“Owing to the escalating commodity prices, management has been compelled to make slight adjustments in the school fees by Shs100,000,” Mr Charles Ssali, Silverspoon head-teacher, said in a circular to parents.

Yesterday, the ministry of Education permanent secretary, Mr Alex Kakooza, maintained the government’s position to schools not to increase fees or demand requirements.

He said parents should report the institutions that have increased fees by sending messages to telephone No. 0772469677 and promised to follow up as the ministry.

“We put out a circular early enough directing schools not to increase fees or ask for non-cash items and those operating without licences.

Let parents tell us who has done this. We are in charge of registration and licensing schools. We can’t fail to punish those who defy,” Mr Kakooza said by telephone.

Aware of the ministry’s position, many schools admitting Senior One students have denied parents admission letters before paying some money as commitment fees, upon which the parents are then given a list of requirements the schools want.

For example, when Daily Monitor visited Uganda Martyrs SS Namugongo last Friday, parents were asked to pay Shs500, 000 before they could be given circulars, which prescribe the requirements.

It is not clear whether this money will be deducted from the tuition fees.

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