With just hours left until the official opening of third term, several parents are yet to come to terms with the revelation by this newspaper that a number of schools have hiked fees.
The Education and Sports ministry has now come out to confirm that it is still working on the instrument that would guide schools on the right path to take.
Speaking to media at the sidelines of the launch of the capacity building for demand-based Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) on Friday, the ministry’ Permanent Secretary, Ms Ketty Lamaro, said the government was still working on an instrument that would help tackle the problem at hand.
“We shall update you as soon as possible,” Ms Lamaro said.
In May, Ms Janet Museveni—the First Lady, who doubles as Education and Sports minister—revealed that her ministry had drafted a statutory instrument intended to regulate school fees and other charges in institutions of learning.
“My ministry will soon embark on consulting the various stakeholders about the statutory instrument that we have drafted to regulate school fees and other charges in our institutions of learning,” the First Lady said.
“Once this exercise is completed and the instrument is taken through the necessary processes, government will be in a better position on how to regulate school fees and other charges,” she further explained.
As the country awaits the instrument, economically constrained parents continue to face the prospect of a hike in fees, most of which are not approved by the Education and Sports ministry as required by law. Increments, as we reported this week, range from between Shs30,000 and Shs100,000 in addition to other requirements.
Many school managers have said the increments are occasioned by the current inflationary pressures that have more than doubled their operational costs.
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics’s latest consumer price index, for instance, captured sharp increases in prices of maize flour and beans that constitute the vast bulk of students’ calorie intake.
Commenting on the capacity building for demand-based TVET project, Ms Lamaro said the project would complement other government programmes intended to address youth unemployment such as Skilling Uganda.
Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo, the junior Higher Education minister, commended the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industries, and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for the support and urged Ugandans—including professionals—to embrace vocational training to acquire skills and boost their meagre income.
“Even you, journalists, can join any of our vocational education training institutions in the country, learn a skill that can help you make more money. You cannot get rich when you are only relying on one source of income,” Mr Muyingo advised.
The Korean Ambassador to Uganda, Mr Park Sung Soo, said the demand-based TVET project will see 2,400 students benefit from short courses at selected vocational training centres. The institutions include Arua, Iganga, Kiryandongo, Mubende, Ntinda and Nyakatare vocational training institutions.
The deadline for one to apply for the fully funded scholarships is December 16. Successful candidates will pursue six months courses in fashion and garment design, welding and fabrication, plumbing, automotive mechanics, as well as electrical installation systems and maintenance.