Schools Request for Full Payment to Give Admission to S.1 Learners

Several schools around the country have requested parents to make full payment of fees before their children are admitted in Senior 1.

After the selection process that took place last week, many parents whose children were placed in Senior 1 rushed to pick admission letters. However, many are leaving schools puzzled due to the conditions set by the school to those who wish to get admitted. 

“I was happy that my girl got a school of her choice but now am puzzled on how to move forward,” noted a parent whose child was placed at Trinity College Nabbingo.

The letter given to the parent read that he can only get the full set of admission materials after paying school fees of 2.8 million shillings. The said money was conditioned to be paid within seven days. “The bursar will generate a payment code for you to pay through the school pay system. please pay this money within seven days, otherwise your vacancy will be forfeited…” the letter reads in part.

Our reporter also obtained another letter given to a parent from St Mary’s College Namagunga signed by the headteacher Sister Regina Nabawanuka, the letter notes that admission letter can only be issued to the parent upon presentation of a bank draft on February 13.

“You are expected to pay commitment fees of 1,400000 as part of school fees or full fees by bank draft…before accessing the admission letter,” Nabawanuka’s letter to the parent reads in part.

Another “provisional admission letter” from Ndejje Secondary School gives until February 13th as the deadline for payment of 1.95 million shillings in order for their children to secure full admission to the school.

The letter also states that failure to make the payment to the designated bank account will result in forfeiture of the admission.

Alice Namatovu, a parent, says that the conditions set by schools might fail a number of parents to enroll their children in these schools.

Isaac Mubiru, another parent holds the belief that schools intentionally give up the placement of students who were accepted based on merit and replace them with those who have obtained placement through a backdoor selection process done by schools.

“We have heard that they put this condition to collect school fees and whoever fails is not allowed on the reporting day. This means the place is sold to whoever can pay, and sometimes these people are not on merit and have not put the school as their first choice,” added Mubiru.

It is possible that Mubiru’s argument has some validity, as there have been instances in the past where schools have been put into the spotlight selling student placements accounts that they had delayed to pay school fees. 

For example, last year several schools, including Nabisunsa SS, were criticized for this practice. According to the selection and placement guidelines set by the education ministry, schools have the right to replace students who were admitted based on merit but fail to attend.

However, these guidelines stipulate that students should be given up to two weeks after the start of the academic year for senior year one students.

According to Dr. Jane Egau, who serves as the national selection and placement chairperson, it is important for schools to follow established guidelines, even though each institution may have its own policies.

She mentioned that she has received complaints from parents about this issue and plans to address it with headteachers during the upcoming S.5 selection process.

The selection and placement process has been identified as having numerous issues, which the Ministry of Education has acknowledged but has yet to implement proper control measures.

However, another in the Ministry of Education attempted to defend the actions of schools by stating that they are under a lot of pressure from individuals who want to be admitted, and thus it might be reasonable for schools to ask for a commitment payment from those who are placed there to ensure attendance.

“We have seen it before as many learners fail to show up. To address this issue, schools have put in place mechanisms to determine which students are likely to attend and which are not, allowing them to better allocate their available spaces. The only drawback of this approach is that students may be asked to pay full school fees upfront,” the official noted

Meanwhile, During the release of the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examination results, the State Minister for Higher Education, Chrysestom Muyingo, stated that several headteachers had fled from their schools and turned off their phones to avoid dealing with the numerous frustrated parents seeking Senior One places.

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