Several secondary schools in Uganda are facing challenges as some students have not paid their school fees, affecting their ability to conduct the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations. These schools are finding it difficult to manage their operations and examination preparations due to outstanding fees.
In Moroto High School, located in Moroto Municipality, an outstanding sum of more than Shillings 52 million in fees remains unpaid. The school’s Headteacher, Twaha Chebet, has been reminding parents to settle their dues, but they continue to request more time, which has placed the school in a vulnerable position. While the school has allowed defaulting students to take the exams, it may struggle to pay teachers’ salaries under the Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA). The school has 221 students taking the UCE examination.
At Moroto Parents Secondary School, the Director of Studies, Edward Okwir, notes that the high number of fee defaulters has prevented the school from equipping the laboratory for practical examinations. As a result, the school had to use classrooms for the chemistry practical paper on a recent exam day.
In Soroti Secondary School in Soroti City, more than 100 out of the 750 students taking the UCE exams have not cleared their fees. The Headteacher, Alfred Oluka Okiria, explains that while the school encouraged parents to commit to tuition fee payments, some did not fulfill their commitments. The management will decide on the status of fee defaulters after the UCE examinations.
Recently, the Ministry of Education called on school heads to allow candidates with outstanding fees to sit for exams after reports emerged that more than 50 candidates at Mbale Progressive Secondary School were denied access to examination halls due to unpaid fees.
In a press statement issued by Jennifer Kalule-Musamba, the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) emphasized the need for schools to permit fee defaulters to sit for examinations. Some cases have been reported to the police and brought to the attention of UNEB.
The UCE examinations began on Monday, October 16, and will continue until November 17, 2023, with a total of 364,421 registered candidates across the country.