Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Private Teachers Union (UPTU) is concerned that the Ministry of education is ordering private schools to register afresh. The ministry now requires private schools to register afresh, a process that will always be repeated every five years.
According to the Ministry of education, the process is aimed at ensuring that all the schools that were licensed by the ministry still follow the required standards. The ministry says the current registration process has no expiry date making it easier for some schools to abuse it.
However, the Uganda Private Teachers Union says this process is uncalled for at this moment when schools are going through a hard financial situation due to the lockdown that has seen schools remain closed for a longer period of time.
Juma Mwamula, the general secretary for the Union says the registration exercise is uncalled for as it practically involves spending funds on the different activities in form of facilitating inspection, speedy handling, picking and filing of the application forms, site visits, environmental and health clearances among others yet their income is dependent on the fees paid in by the learners who are currently at home hence no funds to expedite the exercise smoothly.
According to Mwamula the union proposes that the ministry instead compels the schools to file annual returns through the nearest education office. He says this will be cheaper for the schools and at the same time enable the ministry to attain its target.
Meanwhile the spokesperson for the ministry of education Dr. Dennis Mugimba, says they are yet to sit and come up with a better position on how they can clear the contentious issues surrounding the registration process for a smooth exercise.
Under this arrangement the education ministry is recalling all the over 17,858 private schools registration licenses for a fresh process that will be revisited after every five years of operation.
The ministry alludes that they need to update their data about private schools especially at this time where several schools are reported to have closed and turned into other businesses due to the pandemic.
According to the Assistant Commissioner in charge of private schools George Mutekanga, the new registration is capturing five important features including ownership instead of focusing on the name of the school, board of governors fully approved by the ministry, ownership with a land title and the list of teachers employed by the school.
The process is already ongoing with some schools in Kampala and Wakiso, according to the ministry sources.