21 January 2019

Uganda: Private Schools Protest Govt Attempt to Regulate Fees

Kampala — Private schools operators have protested a government proposal to enact a policy that would regulate tuition fees in learning institutions.

This comes after the Education ministry announced that it is in the process of regulating tuition fees structures in both government and private schools.

Last year, the ministry appointed a committee to study fees structures in all schools and make recommendations to guide government regulation of the charges.

Under their National Private Educational Institutions Association Uganda, the school operators argued that school dues are charged basing on the quality of learning, facilities provided and cost of living of the area where the school is located.

"Parents should make sure they go to schools where they fit. There is no poor parent and they should know that education is expensive," Mr John Bosco Mujjumba, the association chairperson, said while addressing journalists in Kampala at the weekend.

Mr Mujjumba dismissed claims that private schools are more expensive than their government-aided counterparts, saying that their (private schools) fees are charged based on the standards and attendant costs.

"If government is moving to regulate school fees, they should support us with some of the facilities and also reduce on the taxes and cost of requirements used," he said.

Fight examination malpractice

Mr Mujjumba said private schools operators support government's move to eliminate examination cheating and promised that they will work with the ministry of Education to end the malpractice.

"We have a tribunal where practitioners are brought and we recommend to Uganda National Examinations Board to cancel their professional documents, cancel their licences and or deny them renewal. But we are asking the ministry to facilitate examination invigilators to enable them operate effectively," he added.

However, the private schools operators protested the process through which government issues and renews operational licences.

They said the process of validation and revalidation of licences is bureaucratic and expensive for them.

"We are not here to antagonise the concerns and plans of the Ministry of Education but it is our concern to come out against the process of revalidation of our schools. We do not have private children and education, all is for the public. We demand implementation of the validation and registration policy as it is laid down in the regulatory framework," Mr Mujjumba said.

He asked government to support them because their work supplements its policy to educate citizens.

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