The new chairperson of private school owners in Jinja district, Swaibu Kitezala has weighed in on the nationwide school fees controversy, as parents are concerned over the hike in private schools.
Addressing the case of whether the government should intervene or rules set to regulate the fees structure, he said the matter should be left to school administrators to deal with parents on the matter.
“The government liberalized the economy and the whole economy means the education sector is part of it. It is a question of willing buyer and willing seller, and you see the fees are paid according to affordability; so, different people can afford different fee structures,” he said.
Additionally, he emphasized the difference in financial capacity of parents, that highly affects the affordability of school fees.
“While a certain fees structure looks high to certain people, it looks very small to others; so, as far as I am concerned, it is better to leave the fees structure to the forces of demand and supply, or to the school owners and their parents.”
The association is meant to collectively negotiate, share ideas, resources, techniques, technology and many other things that can help teachers solve their challenges, as suggested by Kitezala.
When asked about their current priorities, Kitezala noted that they needed to organize their association for effectiveness.
“We are putting rules and regulations, drafting a constitution, constituting the management structures and then identifying the core activities that we are going to work on at the start,” he said.
During the lockdown, private school owners grappled with a wide range of issues including rent arrears, bankruptcy, losing employees and some lost their school premises to money lenders/ banks.
Katezala points out that it’s so hard to run a private school, especially the start where authentication is required.
“A private school is quite challenging. The conditions for starting one are many; first, you must be registered with the Ministry of Education and Sports and there are minimum standards for a school to be called one are quite high,” he noted.
He added: “Originally it was easy to start a school because one would just rent the premises, have a few desks and run a school, but there are so many things that must be in place before a school is granted a license and eventually registration certificate, These include land title, permanent building, spacious compound, sports facilities, national patriotism structures, flag posts and many others.”