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We can’t compel schools to waive fees balances – Muyingo

State Minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo. File photo

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | State Minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo has said that the Ministry of Education cannot compel schools to waive fees balances as demanded by a section of parents.

Muyingo was responding to a plea by parents across the country for government intervention to force schools to waive term two school fees to cover resources that were not utilised when the first school term was cut short. All educational institutions were closed in March 2020, as the government moved to disband concentration centres and keep coronavirus at bay.

The schools reopened on Thursday for only candidate classes and finalists in higher institutions of learning. But even as they reopened, many learners remained stuck in homes as parents decried the lack of money to take them back to school. Schools were equally asking parents to complete term one school fees before starting term two.

Zenar Nasur, the Luwero district secretary for education says that schools remained empty on day one after parents failed to pay fees to allow their children return for studies.

Nasur added that many of the parents lost jobs during the COVID-19 lockdown and have no money to clear the fees balances on top of paying for the new term. Nasur added that the parents want the Ministry of Education to direct the schools to waive term one fees balances since it was never completed.

Simon Mukasa, a parent at Luwero Secondary School says that it was unfair for them to pay fees balances yet the learners were not taught till the end of the term. Mukasa says that schools ought to be considerate and demand fees for only the new term. Others say that they can’t raise the balances and at the same time pay for the term.

But State Minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo said that the Ministry can’t compel schools to waive the fees balances but asked the school administrators to address the matter after sitting down with affected parents. Muyingo says that parents who are unable to pay fees balances in private schools can take their children to the government schools where education services are free.

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