By Spy Uganda
Parents at Hormisdallen School Gayaza have petitioned the director, Kizito Mukalazi to intervene urgently and save them from ‘greedy’ administration they accuse of turning the school into an extortion centre.
In their petition dated 31st January 2023, parents pour out their grievances to the Director stating that for some time the administration has been passing ‘terrible’ policies and decisions without consulting them as stakeholders and uses those policies to mercilessly milk parents.
”We have consistently noted that the school administration has compromised on fundamental issues which have affected and still continue to impact on the welfare of our children. Unfortunately, we have always lacked a formal forum through which we can have our said concerns voiced, mainly because the school has deliberately refused, ignored and neglected to call for a parents’ meeting,” parents fume. Read their grievances below;
”The following are therefore, concerns that form the basis of this petition which MUST BE attended to and discussed urgently for the good of the learners and the school as a whole.
1. The banning of juice brought by the parents for their children and the passing of a draconian policy to the effect that all juices must be bought from school at extortionist prices against the will of the parents. We find this policy/decision born out of an extortionist intent and is thus not connected with any norms of reason and justification.
2. Introducing and implementing a system for the payment of requirements that have their own banks lips separate from the school fees, which are so exorbitant, without consulting with the parents. That is also coupled with the school’s failure to give a clear break down of the prices, item by item so that the parents understand what they are paying for.
3. That problem is compounded by failure to give the same materials to the learners at the time they are needed during the school term. These materials include books, mathematical sets, graph books, pens etc. The learners again go back to their parents for the same items they have highly paid for at the beginning of the term.
4. Selling visitation cards to parents during the school visitation days.
5. Conducting coaching at school which has become an un controllable venture for squeezing more money from the parents. This is done by the teachers in a private arrangement with some parents which puts other learners whose parents cannot afford coaching fees at a disadvantage.
6. Charging exorbitant school fees on top of other exorbitant charges. Parents are informed of the fees they are supposed to pay per term. The fees to be paid are discovered from the bank. These school fees are not organically introduced, and information shared with the parents at say a five-year plan, like it is done in other school of the same caliber. That helps the parents to plan and make themselves ready to foot those bills because the information is given beforehand.
7. The 30000/= commitment fee per learner that is paid by the parents who do not clear the whole school fees at the beginning of the term is an unfair policy in a sense that if a parent fails to clear the balance on the agreed date, the parent loses that commitment fee, yet the partial payment on the fees already paid to the school is a bigger commitment to clear the balance.
8. Selling Holiday packages to parents at exorbitant amounts after payment of huge sums in school fees.
9. Irregular taking away/confiscation of usable items from our boarding pupils such as pant/knicker pegs, body jelly/lotion scrubbers, soap, toilet papers, tooth brushes etc and providing one item to be used/shared by the pupils, yet these are the items fully paid for by the parents and some actually provided physically by the parents at the opening of the term. That has previously compromised the health of the learners and led to the spread of some diseases.
10. Deliberate refusal by the school to call/schedule or organize an administration and parents’ meeting which would be a communication channel through which information is shared on any grievances with a result of finding solutions. Parents have persistently been gauged by the school to strangulation levels, forgetting that they equal players in this whole equation.
11. Giving learners, little food rations which are of poor quality, devoid of balanced diet. This has resulted in cases of ulcers for the learners, reduced/compromised immunity, weight loss among other effects.
12. Mistreatment of the boarding learners by the matrons who confiscate their juice, milk and other consumables during their stay at school.
13. Compromising the hygiene standards, specifically in the dormitories which has been exemplified by the existence of bedbugs in the learners’ beddings, uniforms and clothes.
14. There are complaints from some parents regarding instances when their children who had previously not cleared school fees in time were driven and dropped by the school administration at their respective homes or at the homes of the neighbours in the absence of their parents without taking due care for their for their safety. This has exhibited the highest level of irresponsibility on the part of the school administration.
15. There is a huge and exponential population of pupils at school. This is seen in the number of pupils per stream and later on per dormitory. That of course compromises service provision, interaction of the pupils and the teachers and the same ultimately affects the feeding of the learners and causes serious congestion in their dormitories. That pauses a very serious healthy and safety risks for the children in case of fire outbreaks. All that is a result of very big numbers.
THAT WILL FINALLY HAVE AN EFFECT ON ACADEMICS.
16. The school has consistently charged an exorbitant fee of 60000/= for a child that has been in the day section who intends to join the boarding section. This is called application fees. SURELY? We find this extortionist, unnecessary, so unreasonable and exceedingly inconsiderate especially considering the prevailing dwindling economy.
17. There are parents with more than one learner in the upper and lower sections who work upcountry and whenever they come for visitation of one of the children, they are denied access of the other not being considerate of the distances where they come from. The administration often advises such parents to come back on another day to visit the other child(ren).
These are among the many issues that have accumulated over time and affected the parents, strained them financially, inconvenienced them, and are now threatening the learning environment of their children. We find most of the policies that have the money element in them quite unrealistic, unreasonable and extortionist to say the least. All the aforesaid is causing a serious and latent relationship strain between the parents and the school yet the two parties are meant to be reliable partners for school goals and objectives to be effectively achieved. The said issues have reached alarming levels that they require urgent redress. A solution to all those issues needs to be hammered lest the parents resort to other means of solving their grievances which may end in changing a school for their children.
In the premises, we demand an immediate meeting with you as stakeholders in this partnership so that we have all the issues raised above fully discussed and solutions made.
In that regard, the harmony between the two parties shall be maintained and the smooth running and functionality of the school will remain uninterrupted.
Finally, we wish to strongly say that we still cherish our school and pledge therefore to continue partnering with you to take the education, upbringing and molding of our children forward once our grievances are duly attended to and the solutions to them are devised. Signed by the parents on this 31 st day of January, 2023.”