Parents in Lira city have vowed not to pay the additional tuition fees, saying that schools did not consult them on the proposed increment.
At VH Public Primary School in Lira city, the management increased the fees structure with variations depending on the class.
Primary one and two pupils are expected to pay an additional 34,000 Shillings on top of the 88,700 Shillings they paid last term. Primary Three will pay 124,700 Shillings instead of 90,700 Shillings and Primary Four are expected to pay 137,700 Shillings instead of 100,700 Shillings, which they paid the last term.
Primary five and six are to pay an additional 45,000 Shillings on top of 101,700 Shillings for day scholars and 163,000 Shillings for those in boarding section while candidates’ tuition fees increased from 168,000 Shillings to 216,000 Shillings. The parents are also expected to pay 84,000 Shillings as Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and development funds.
At Saving Grace Nursery and Primary School, the fees have increased by over 50,000 Shillings for all classes just like at St Gracious Secondary School where fees have increased by over 100,000 Shillings. Parents are expected to return their children after making 100% payment on top of other requirements.
Lango College School also increased tuition fees and on Monday last week parents who had not paid fees in full were asked to take their children back home.
The tuition fee increment has infuriated some of the parents who claim they were never consulted by the school authorities before the changes were made. Some accuse the schools of using the current economic crisis to exploit them.
Sam Alex Ogwal, whose children attend school at VH Public School, says the school authorities do not listen to parents who are forced to pay exorbitant fees without consultation. Ogwal also expressed concern over the fact that the school is asking for COVID-19 testing fees at a time when the virus is no longer serious.
Nelson Ongom Abura, another parent believes that the fees increment is in the interest of a few individuals including the head teachers and PTA chairpersons.
Bernard Opio, a resident of Adyel, wondered why schools are increasing fees under the guise of implementing developmental plans and providing good care for the learners yet the development never happens.
Josephine Acon, a parent at St. Gracious Secondary School says that she is struggling to pay the fees amidst rising cost of living. Another parent of St Gracious who spoke on condition of anonymity is regretting why he sent his children to a private instead of a government school.
“Every day I am repenting to God denouncing any spirit which may lead me to take my child to any private school because these people keep increasing fees in the third term when they are sure you cannot transfer your child to another school. If my daughter was not a candidate this year, I would have asked her to stay home and report to another school next year,” Acon said.
However, Jacob Gumson Odur, the head teacher of VH Public School explains that the increment is to help the school provide food for the pupils especially during this economic crisis. He says the school went into debt last term in their attempt to cater to the learners. Odur adds that a consultative meeting held last week ended with parents declining to pay the extra money.
While responding to parents who castigated the school administrators for demanding additional money from parents who deliver beans and maize to the school, Odur explained that the foodstuff is not enough.
Jasper Abura, the Lira City Principal Education Officer advised parents who advocated for boarding sections and feeding at their primary schools to ensure that they support their children, saying good school feeding also boosts performance.
Abura further explained that Universal Primary Education-UPE schools, especially those within urban centres are also permitted by law to charge parents some small amount to meet other expenses. He however called on schools to allow parents to pay the fees in instalments.