As schools get set to reopen on Monday, January 10 after nearly two years of closure, the Minister of Education and Sports and First Lady, Janet Museveni has ordered schools not to increase fees.
In a televised address on Thursday, Mrs Museveni reminded schools of her message on December 25, 2021 at the closure of Education and Sports Sector Review Workshop, that while non Universal Primary Education (UPE) and non-Universal Secondary Education (USE) schools charge fees to enable the running of school activities, the Ministry of Education and Sports is against “arbitrary increase of school fees.”
The Education Ministry’s guidance, she said is that parents should not pay more than what was paid before schools were closed in March 2020.
She said she has been disappointed to learn that some schools, both private and public have issued circulars to parents, indicating blanket additional fees for senior three, and increment of fees for other classes.
“The Ministry of Education and Sports is taking steps to comprehensively and equitably address the issue of unregulated school charges. I appeal to the managers of schools to appreciate the financial challenges that most families are being faced with under the current circumstances, and the spirit under which the Ministry of Education and Sports guidance on school charges for First Term of 2022 is being made. The Ministry will not tolerate situations where parents are charged school fees twice or where unrealistically high charges are imposed on parents,” she said.
The Senior Two students who had paid full fees when they reported back from Term One which had started on May 31, 2021, Mrs Museveni said should not be charged any more fees for Term One of 2022.
“I hope parents are listening, teachers are listening. I wish you could perhaps get a pen and paper and write down these guidelines, because I know that social media come up and bring up new ideas and they confuse you. But these are the Ministry of Education and Sports guidelines,” she said.
“The Senior Two learners who had paid full school fees when they reported back for the Term which started on 31st May 2021 should not be charged anymore fees for the First Term of 2022 when they report to their former schools for going now into Senior Three class,” she reiterated.
The Senior Two learners who had not yet completed paying the fees when schools closed on June 7, 2021, Mrs Museveni said should complete paying only the balance of school fees which they not yet finished when they report back to their former schools for Senior Three in January 2022.
Education Institutions shall engage parents and guardians to adopt flexible fees payment arrangement, and allow payment in appropriate installments.
Much as schools also need money to run, Mrs Museveni said parents also have challenges because many of them have not been earning the income they used to earn before lockdown.
During this COVID-19 emergency period, the Minister advised schools to avoid implementing major infrastructure development and asset acquisition budgets that are funded from parents contribution.
“Education Institutions shall not increase fees from what was charged for First Term 2020. I repeat, education institutions shall not increase fees from what was charged for First Term 2020,” she emphasized.