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Luweero Catholic Diocese Moves to Regulate Fees and School Operations

The Kasana-Luweero Catholic Diocese has set up an Education Inspectorate Authority charged with overseeing and monitoring operations of the schools it runs. The Authority is also charged with regulating school fees and other requirements that the church founded schools charge.

The Authority will oversee 160 primary schools, 17 secondary schools and seven technical institutes. It will also oversee 11 nursery schools and one pastoral center all located in Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola districts.

Boniface Ssentongo, the Chairperson of the Authority says initially the focus had been on inspecting infrastructure, enrollment and staffing among others but now they have picked interest in regulating school requirements and fees demanded from parents.

Ssentongo explains that some requirements are exaggerated whereas others are unnecessary to not only the performance of learners but also operations of the schools.

The development comes at time when parents including the Catholic faithful are crying out over hiked school fees charged by private, public and government aided schools.

The public is even more enraged by government aided and public schools given the fact that they receive several grants, instruction materials, teachers’ salaries and other subsidies from the government yet they charge even higher fees than what the private schools charge.

The Luweero move also comes at the back drop of a resolution by the officers in charge of education to regulate and even reduce the amount of money learners must pay in school fees and other forms of payment at institutions affiliated to the Catholic Church and its linked organizations.

During last March’s consultations, Catholics from a number of dioceses voiced concern over the high fees that Church affiliated schools charge.  A report from the Kampala Archdiocese indicates hues and cries, agonizing complaints, and sorrows from church members over the school fees being charged by church-founded schools, which have gone far above the reach of poor church members.

“Reduce the fees of our church schools; this will help all Christians take their children to their religious-founded schools and build a cohesive church of tomorrow,” the report reads, in part quoting the views of the faithful. “Now parents are looking for low-cost schools, and even if they are Muslim, those children are going to get lost without walking with their peers.”

Recently the media reported government-proposed regulation for school fees and requirements, which was thought that it will bring change to the situation. 

As part of the regulations, the Ministry of Education had banned all public and government-aided schools from collecting school fees but were allowed to charge allowable requirements, which were set at a maximum of 430,000 Shillings. The regulations also set maximum fees for private high-end nursery schools at 690,000 Shillings including allowable school requirements.

For primary schools, the proposed maximum fees were  570,000 Shillings for day schools and  1.2 million Shillings for boarding schools. For Secondary schools, fees were set at 960,000 Shillings for day scholars and Shillings 1.6million for boarding. 

However, the regulations have not yet been passed by cabinet. As the country awaits the regulation, the education minister Janet Kataha Museveni has guided that schools don’t increase the fees but rather maintain what they were charging in the third term. 

However, several people have since noted that her call may have come too late as many schools have already increased their fees for the upcoming term and parents have already paid either a portion or all of the charges. 

Meanwhile, Sheikh Ramadhan Mulindwa the Luweero District Kadhi says that fees increment is a great concern and he has ordered that all 35 Muslim-founded schools maintain fees structure as per last term.  

Mulindwa says that they have also streamlined and appointed competent School Management Committees to oversee and ensure the directives among others policies from the Ministry are respected.

“Currently all our Muslim-founded schools are affordable to parents within Luweero district. Our schools were set up to provide education services to the poor but not to make profits and we must ensure they are affordable to all,” Mulindwa said.

But private operators like Paul Mukungu the Director of New Life Secondary School says that some schools have resorted to demanding so many requirements as a way to cover high operational costs and to deliver the quality of education services to the children as demanded by the class of parents.  

Mukungu advises each parent to take his or her child to the school where they can afford both school requirements and fees.

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