Members of Parliament (MPs) on the committee on Education and Sports want the line ministry to develop a tuition policy for all schools to ease the pressure of school fees rates on parents.
The MPs have also voiced strong concern on the increase of school fees in government aided and private schools, especially during a running school year.
Their concerns raised following a submission by Kole North County MP, Samuel Opio, on the school fees hike in schools across Uganda, presented on Wednesday, 31 August 2022 during interaction with the committee.
Opio cited the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) household survey of 2019/2020 where net enrolment in secondary schools stood at 27.3 per cent compared to primary school enrolment at 80 per cent.
He called on government to offer bursary schemes at each district to support secondary and vocational training for the best performers as a mechanism to strengthen enrolment.
Opio noted that fees currently charged by government aided schools are discriminatory and deny an equal opportunity to every citizen to attain the highest educational standards possible.
He also observed that secondary education in several instances is more costly than university or tertiary education.
“Section 3 (b) of the Education Act empowers the Minister from time to time, to make regulations for purposes of regulating the fees payable by any school,” said Opio.
Opio observed that school boards of governors which are the main determinants of school fees, defied directives from the Ministry of Education as at 11 January 2022, and have continued to increase fees unabated.
He noted that much as the rise in food costs is evident, any increase in school fees must be balanced with the constitutional obligation for every citizen to attain the highest standard of education possible.
“The ministry or district education officers should take action including but not limited to the suspension of the board of governors of schools that decided against the ministry directive halting further increase in school fees,” Opio prayed to the Committee.
Nathan Itungo, the MP for Kashari South observed that a number of schools include many items on the school fees structure that are not related to tuition, and added that discussions with the education minister can go a long way in checking this.
Tororo North MP Geoffrey Ekanya said it would be unfair to reduce fees of private schools because they suffered during Covid-19 period, but advised that the quality of government schools should be improved.
Maj Jennifer Alanyo who represents the UPDF in the House called for an amendment into how boards of governors in schools are appointed and managed, and also called for school fees increments to be spread across the school year rather than termly.