PARLIAMENT: Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Anita Among has called for the establishment of a policy to harmonize school fees in Uganda.
During plenary on Tuesday, 07 March 2023, the Speaker expressed concern about the significant variations in school fees charged by different institutions leading to hardships for parents and students.
Among said that the current lack of regulation has resulted in schools setting their fees arbitrarily, leading to significant disparities across the education sector beyond what parents can afford.
She called for an urgent policy to harmonize school fees and promote access to education for all. The speaker has noted that because of hiked school fees, many children are dropping out of school & many teenage girls are unable to continue with their studies leading to early marriages
“The harmonization of school fees would create a level playing field and ensure that no student is denied access to education due to unaffordable fees, ” she said.
The proposed policy, she said, would provide a clear framework for setting fees by considering factors such as access to education for low-income earners and children of peasants, among others.
“Now it is only children of the rich people that are studying and children of the poor are dropping out. The Government needs to come up with a policy on how we can make sure that the school fees is regulated and nobody should be able to charge high fees, it is actually exploitation,” she said.
The Speaker emphasized that the policy should be sensitive to the economic situation of parents and guardians and encourage transparency in the fees setting process.
The Speaker’s appeal for a policy on school fees harmonization comes as a relief to many struggling parents and students in Uganda who have been burdened with high education expenses.
Reports on social and mainstream media indicate that some schools are charging over Shs5 million for secondary education per term.
However, Private schools owners across the country already rejected the planned government school fees regulation policy that, if approved by Cabinet, will block them and their opposite members from government-aided schools from charging beyond set caps.
In August 2022, the State Minister for Education, Dr. Joyce Kaducu, told Parliament that the government had, basing on their mandate in the Education Act 2008, submitted a statutory instrument regarding the matter to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs for scrutiny.