The solicitor general of government has responded to queries that were raised by the district education officer for Masindi, Francis Kyomuhendo on whether or not the law totally banned voluntary contributions by parents and well-wishers to government aided schools that offer Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) programs.
On 27th June 2016, Kyomuhendo thought for legal opinion on Section 9(I), (II) and (III) of the Education (pre-primary, primary and post primary) Act 2008. Sub Section (I) of the Act provides that: “No person or agency shall levy or order another person to levy or charge for purpose of education in any primary or post primary institutions implementing UPE or USE programs”.
The DEO thought for legal opinion from solicitor general after following a ban of collection of money from parents whose children are studying in government aided schools implementing UPE and USE by the RDC, Godfrey Nyakahuma who said it was illegal and vowed to arrest head teachers.
Sub Section (II) further adds that, provision of sub section (I) shall not be construed to deter the management of any school or institution implementing UPE and USE programs from collecting or receiving voluntary contributions or payments from parents and well-wishers to contain a state of emergency or any urgent matter concerning the school.
While Sub Section (III) says that, no pupil or student shall be sent away from a school or institution or denial access to education for failure to pay any contribution referred under Sub Section (II).
In a letter dated 8th September 2016 seen by our reporter and signed by Henry Obbo for solicitor general, reads that, in view of the above provisions, we advise that; charging fees or any other payment is generally prohibited and the only exception of the above is voluntary contributions from parents and well-wishers to handle emergencies and urgent matters.
“However, you cannot send away a pupil or students if their parents do not make voluntary contributions towards addressing emergencies or urgent matters that could have arisen. The school administration has discretion to reasonably determine whether a matter is urgent or constitutes an emergency”, the letter further reads.
The letter was also copied to RDC, district chairperson, CAO, district secretary for education and chairperson head teachers’ association in Masindi district.
Kyomuhendo disclosed that, following solicitor general’s clarification, he has now issued out seven guidelines to head teachers on how they can manage parents voluntary contributions following the law and those who cannot do so should not bother.