EDUCATION

COVID-19 REBOUND: Parents hesitate paying fees as school reopening draws nearer

Children take school lessons on television at their home. Government has set January 10th to reopen schools in Uganda (PHOTO /Courtesy).

As schools prepare to receive learners on January 10th, 2022 as announced by the government, some parents are reluctant on paying tuition given their experience following the first and second lockdowns.

The first lockdown announced in March 2019 occurred almost a month into the first term. The second lockdown happened in June 2021, just weeks following the resumption of studies. In both incidents, schools compelled parents to forego the tuition they had paid.

Some of the schools even went ahead to ask for additional school requirements. Recently, the Ministry of Education and Sports announced the planned reopening of schools on January 10th, 2022. The news drew both excitement and fear among parents given the past experience.

Jolly Nyinamariza, a parent in Kamwokya, says that she is still sceptical about the proposed school reopening next month. She explains that prior to the second lockdown she had paid tuition for her two children in upper primary but the government abruptly closed the schools.

Nyinamariza explains that although the school promised to carry forward the tuition, she will not rush to pay fees this time around because of the surging infections resulting from the new COVID-19 variant. She says that she will wait for at least two weeks after the school reopening in January before making any tuition payment.

Olivia Light, another parent still from Kamwokya, says that she will also wait for one or two weeks to pay school fees for her children. Light says that she had fully paid tuition fees for her senior two children at St Juliana when the government declared the nationwide lockdown due to the pandemic.

The parent’s uncertainty does not stop at paying fees but also the other areas like providing scholastic materials and buying uniforms. Currently, the majority of the learners have outgrown their new uniforms.

Mustafa Kimbowa, a father says that he is now concerned about his overgrowing children. Kimbowa narrates that he cannot take back his children to school or buy uniforms for them before the first term of the academic year 2022 ends.

‘’My worry is paying school fees and at the same time buying uniforms then the government closes the schools again. Am not ready to spend more money on schools,” he said.

Sarah Namazzi also a parent says that apart from worrying about another lockdown, she plans to shift her children to other schools because of debts at their former school.

Moses Samuka, the chairperson of the private school’s association Kampala central has asked parents to have confidence in the government as far the school reopening program is concerned.

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