Despite a recent directive against hiking school fees without authorization from the Ministry of Education, diagnosis most schools in Lango sub region have defied the order and increased tuition for the new school term that starts tomorrow.
A survey across education institutions in the districts of Lira, medications Alebtong, more about Apac, Amolatar and Oyam, established that most private and government aided schools have increased fees by over 30percent.
Simon Okullo, the proprietor of Green Valley Nursey and Primary school, Alebtong district defends the increment reasoning that it is to cater for emerging operational costs and high commodity prices.
Okullo whose pupils paid 103,000shillings each last term, has since revised the fee to 124,000 shillings.
Oryema Jackson the head teacher, St. James Secondary school Apac district says on top of increasing fees by 40,000, his school has instructed learners to report for the new school term with 6Kilograms of sugar and 10 of beans and Maize flour.
Oryema acknowledges that authorization from the education ministry was not sought prior to hiking the tuition fees.
Emily Ecik, the Director of Studies Hope Centre of Excellence Secondary School, says like other schools in the region, his school agreed with parents during a meeting three weeks ago that owing to the rising costs of running operations, there was need to introduce a welfare fee of 60,000shillings on top of last terms’s 150,000shillings.
Ecik explains that the extra welfare fee is meant to facilitate light breakfast for students and maintain the school’s resident nurse.
An administrative official of Dr. Obote College, Lira a government aided boarding secondary school who requested anonymity, revealed that they increased school fees by 23,000shillings to cater for unforeseeable emergencies and predicted inflation that may spike the costs of beans and rice.
Amolatar Resident District Commissioner, Ogwang Odero sympathises with parents following the increment.
Ogwang says to cushion parents who depend on subsistence farming to finance their children’s education, his office has reached an agreement with schools in the district to enable learners attend school for some time as their benefactors look for money.
Ogwang explains that schools in the district have agreed to the proposal with a view that by the middle of June, parents will have done some harvests and sold food crops, whose proceeds will be used for paying school fees.
Beatrice Akello, the Apac Resident District Commissioner advises parents to negotiate with schools to allow them admit learners without full tuition warning that those whose children will be found at home when the term starts will be arrested.
Akello says her office will conduct periodic visits to learning centers to ensure that students and pupils from poor families are allowed a grace time to study until their parents can get enough money to pay up.
Ronald Otile, a parent in Lira municipality reveals that owing to the costs of education, he has been forced to withdraw his two children from a boarding school which recently hiked schools fees by over 50percent and relocate them to a more affordable government aided one.
However Alex Kakoza, the Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary warns that by increasing fees and introducing some charges without the permission of the ministry, schools are acting illegally a development that may call for punitive measures.
Kakoza contends that the ministry through district inspector of schools will do an assessment across all learning centers across the country to ensure that schools are complying with the directive against increasing fees unilaterally.
Education Minister Janet Kataha Museveni recently issued a ministerial policy directive banning schools against increasing school fees without her permission.