By Spy Uganda
The President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has warned saboteurs of government’s free Education for all program, saying that they are going to come up with a strong law to deal with them and prohibit the charging of fees in government schools.
“Ignorance is also another big problem. We gave you the method, but people don’t listen to us. We said free Education is a way to abolish ignorance, we started on this in 1997 but because of not listening to us, you get resistance; the Head Teachers still bring back school charges and yet we are sending so much money here for UPE. In Teso there are 723 primary schools where we send Shs 7billion for Teso only and we said for the Children of the poor to study, remove school charges but you still find people chasing them from school,” Museveni cautioned.
“We told these people if you think this money we are sending you is not enough, tell us we send more, but don’t send children back home. But they don’t understand that in order to get rid of ignorance, the only medicine is Education for all. NRM is patient we are going to continue, and we are going to bring a new law totally prohibiting charging of fees in government schools. If you want to charge money, go and build a private school. You will soon hear the war on that issue.”
President Museveni in 2003 outlawed fees levied on UPE pupils and warned that school administrators found guilty of the offence would face criminal charges.
Government introduced free primary education in 1997 and a decade later implemented free secondary education to enable eligible primary school graduates enrol in tuition-free secondary and vocational training institutions.
Some schools have suggested to government that they should be allowed to levy lunch fees as lack of a clear feeding programme in UPE schools has been blamed for the massive dropouts and absenteeism.
Others levy development fees but the President says such charges are illegal and a burden to the parents, and should be stopped.