Private schools want government to pay their teachers’ salaries
The committee chaired by Nakaseke North MP Syda Bbumba says private schools can pay their teachers on account of the amount they collect in school fees.
“I believe you must have saved some money. You should not be crying within just three months,” Reagan Okumu of Aswa County said.
The Members of Parliament also called for the government to regulate what those who go to private schools pay as school fees, saying the amount is high.
MPs implored school managers to be lenient with parents by reducing fees and requirements which may include sanitisers and facemasks.
Appearing before same committee on Tuesday, school owners told MPs that by the time schools closed, 80% of parents had not completed paying their school dues.
They appeared under their body, the National Private Educational Institutions
“This not only affected school proprietors, but the staff too since many of them have not been paid salaries from March to date,” Hasadu Kirabira, the group’s head of research, said.
According to the Kampala Private Schools Market Report 2017, some 99% of private schools are dependent on school fees collections.
The association has a membership of 18,000 education institutions, of which 7,211 are kindergartens, 8,430 primary schools and 2,196 secondary schools. About 161 are tertiary institutions and 23 international schools.
On average, private schools pay their staff sh400,000 per month, minus other
In Kampala alone, private schools pay about sh23.8b per month in taxes (sh285.8b a year), while nationally they pay about sh90b per month (sh1 trillion per annum).
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the education sector hard, with 15 million (6.3 million of which attend private schools) learners out of school.
Following the closure of the schools, 360,000 people including teachers have,
according to private school owners, been made jobless.
According to those running schools, the continued closure of schools has affected both teaching and non-teaching staff. Proprietors said most schools had stocked perishable goods, especially food delivered on credit in bulk hoping that the closure would be short.
With only 65% of the schools owning their premises, those who run schools told MPs that landlords did not waive rental charges but instead deferred the arrears.
They also expressed fear that in the era of COVID-19 and post-lockdown, there will be a low turnout of learners because parents are worried about the safety of their children.
Private schools owners in Kampala proposed the following policy options to the Government:
• Adjust academic year so that the second term runs from August to October while the third term runs from November to January.
• The Government provide and subsidise personal protective gear, such as temperature guns, masks sanitisers.
• Subsidising of piped water costs.
• The Government set up a COVID-19 taskforce at school, zonal, sub-county and district level.