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50 Secondary schools under probe for inflating USE enrollment

FILE PHOTO: Education Minister Janet Museveni

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Criminal Investigations Directorate –CID is investigating more than 50 private secondary schools on allegations of inflating Universal Secondary Education –USE student enrollment to fleece the government billions of money.

Charles Twine, CID Spokesperson, says that a probe is underway to establish how the scam was schemed by private secondary schools in districts partnering with government to promote USE in areas of Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono.

Although Twine declined to reveal amount of money that has been fleeced from the government by school administrators, a source said they suspect the money could over 60 billion shillings.

“We are zeroing on a few selected ones within Kampala Metropolitan. We have established the money was dispatched to those schools. They have been cheating government through inflating student enrollment,” Twine said.

The schools under investigation could not be revealed by CID since the investigations are underway. But sources said it would double the number of students in every class when presenting records to the Ministry of Education.

USE was officially introduced 12 years ago to supplement Universal Primary Education –UPE which had started in 1997. Government realised several students could complete Primary education under UPE but get stuck afterwards since they could not afford secondary education costs.

The USE program caused congestion in available public secondary schools and in order to reduce the overcrowding in classrooms, government decided to partner with private secondary schools whose costs were a bit fair.

Ministry of Education reportedly unearthed the scam after realizing that some schools had been giving consistent figures for number of students who joined Senior One up to Senior Four. Nevertheless, records at Uganda National Examination Board –UNEB could show less than a half of the said figures sat for Uganda Certificate of Education –UCE after four years.

“Some of these schools would indicate that they admitted 120 students on USE programme in Senior One and could maintain the same figures up to Senior Four. However, records on the number of candidates for UCE show they were 46. So, the question is where did the rest go?’” source said.

Apart from using UNEB records, ministry of education dispatched teams that made impromptu visits to different private schools promoting USE and made spontaneous headcounts. To the teams’ surprise, they often found half or even quarter of the numbers presented to the ministry.

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