Parliament has passed a resolution urging the government to meet the cost of examination registration for all candidate classes for this year.
This came after a motion presented by Bugabula South MP Henry Kibalya who noted that parents are struggling with effects of the lockdown and need to be supported to facilitate the registration of learners. According to estimates from the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb), the government is likely to spend around Shs 32 billion for candidate students in private schools.
Senior four candidates pay Shs 200,000 for registration while all senior six candidates pay Shs 220,000. Kibalya says government was already in the process of paying the same amount for the government students.
Kibalya says the Ugandan government should reconsider its position and meet these costs on behalf of the so many families that are struggling, and therefore unable to pay. He also says that they would not like students to return to schools and then miss out on exams as many parents lack the capacity to pay.
“It should be noted madam speaker, that countries like Ghana, Malawi and Kenya pay examination fees for pupils and students under their universal free education. Madam speaker, therefore, our prayer and recommendation could be government should consider meeting the cost for candidates registration fees for respective examination level as highlited above. This is because households have been negatively affected by covid pandemic and as such should be relieved of registration,” said Kibalya.
Mukono South MP Johnson Muyanja Senyonga says that many private schools do not charge uniform fees and that many use the registration to exploit the parents. He says that by taking up the payment, the government will relieve the already vulnerable parents.
“Having said that the parents already have no capacity even to cater for the school fees at the moment because of Covid, it is equally and genuine that the government takes over that small budget of only Shs 32 billion and covers the parents to the other burden of being cheated by many schools moreso when the operators of schools are desparate. This will help that those who paid at the beginning of first term…that amount can be reduced from the fees of second term.” said Ssenyonga.
According to the timetable released by Uneb, schools are expected to carry out registration of candidate classes between October 22 and November 20.
Kalungu West MP Joseph Sewungu says that due to COVID-19, many proprietors of schools are not financially stable. He says also this would stop cases of heads of schools running away with students registration fees. After debating the motion, the resolution was unanimously passed by parliament. However, it is only an advisory to the government.