The Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) has warned school administrators across the country that they risk losing their centre numbers if they charge registration fees contrary to what the government announced.
Releasing the programme for registration of candidates for the forthcoming national examinations yesterday at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, the Uneb executive secretary, Mr Daniel Odongo, said they have received complaints from parents and whistleblowers that some schools have asked parents to pay exorbitant registration fees.
Mr Odongo said schools that would be caught charging beyond the standard rates, risk losing their centre numbers or will face other penalties slapped by the Ministry of Education and Sports.
Mr Odongo explained that Primary Leaving Education (PLE) candidates will pay Shs34,000 and Senior Four, Shs164,000 and Senior Six Sh186,000.
"We have received complaints from parents that they have been asked to pay Shs300,000 for PLE registration. Schools should desist from hiking the fees. If schools have additional cost for administrative purposes during registration, that money should be separated from the Uneb fees," Mr Odongo said.
He said those schools that collected Uneb registration fees from candidate students early this year, should not charge them more money. Some parents had raised a red flag after some schools allegedly asked them to pay registration fees again.
"The registration fees have not been increased by Uneb so why should schools ask for more money from parents who had paid. After the closure of schools in March, most parents had paid registration fees because registration was slated to kick off in April. Since we have not increased the fee, parents should not be made to pay this fee for the second time," Mr Odongo said.
He said the registration of candidates started yesterday electronically across the country and will be running for only five weeks.
He warned that there will be no extension for the registration of candidates.
"Ordinarily, registration would take six months but given the current Covid-19 pandemic situation, schools will have to adapt to the new normal. Schools should thus make sure they present the registration data of their students to Uneb in the given timeline. Extending registration of candidates during this time would affect downstream activities such as printing of exams... ," Mr Odongo said.
He also said the board has already distributed the e-registration software through the districts inspectors of schools and heads of schools should register their learners.
According to Odongo, Senior Four students will start their Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) on March 1, Primary Seven will sit their PLE on March 30 and March 31 while Senior Six will start their Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) on April 12 respectively.
Meanwhile, Odongo directed schools to register students who conceived during the Covid-19 lockdown. He said the number of students who conceived this time round could be higher compared to the previous years.
"While we do not condone teenage pregnancy, we recognise that most of these girls are victims of circumstances, holding unintended pregnancies. Many of them were traumatised and denying them the opportunity to sit their final examination would be double jeopardy.
"This will also derail the gains of gender inclusiveness attained so far in reducing the disparity between girls and boys registering for exams," Mr Odongo said.