The school director Julius Arineitwe and head teacher, Justus Bataringaya and administrator, Godfrey Asasire reportedly detained Swaleh Junior Mayanja, 13, and Swahaba Selemba, 11, both sons of Swaleh Mayanja after the completion of their Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) last month for alleged to clear third term tuition worth Shillings 1.64 million.
The management of Victorious Preparatory school in Kabale
district is facing criticism from education authorities for detaining two primary
seven candidates over unpaid fees.
The school director Julius Arineitwe, the head
teacher Justus Bataringaya and administrator Godfrey Asasire reportedly
detained Swaleh Junior Mayanja, 13, and Swahaba Selemba, 11 after the completion of their Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE)
last month for alleged failure to clear school dues worth 1.64 million Shillings.
Flavia Ineema Nansubuga, an auntie to the two candidates says
that Mayanja tasked her to take care of her nephews since he couldn’t travel
with them to Rwanda, where he works because of the COVID-19 restrictions. She explains
that after the PLE, she waited for her nephews to return home, a
few kilometres from Kabale town in vain.
According to Nansubuga, she decided to
check with the school only to be told that the children had been detained
because of unpaid fees. She immediately contacted Mayanja, who explained to the
school administrators that he was unable to transfer money because of the tension
between the two countries. He also pleaded with the school to release the children in vain.
As a result, they decided to
file a complaint with the police and the district education department for
help. On Monday evening, Muhammad Kyewalyanga, the acting District Police
Commander, Enock Hatangimana, the Kigezi Region Police Community Liaisons
Officer, Moses Bwengye Tumwijukye, the District Education Officer and
Catherine Kyomugisha, the District Inspector of Schools stormed the school demanding an explanation for their action.
Tumwijukye told our reporter that the school administration does not have any mandate to detain children even if their parents have failed to pay their school fees. He says that
they compelled the school to release the children and hand them over to
Nansubuga after a written commitment ensuring that Mayanja pays the school
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Muhammad Kyewalyanga, the acting Kabale District Police Commander says that it
was unlawful for the school management to detain their children because it contravenes their rights. According to him, only the Uganda Police
force has the legal mandates to detain people. He however urges parents to explore avenues of settling such
matters without exposing innocent children to such pain.
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The Headteacher, Justus Bataringaya insisted that there is no way the
administration could release children without assurance from their parents about
the unpaid fees.
He accused Mayanja of
being an irresponsible parent, saying that they decided to hold the children
following their previous experience with Mayanja when he failed to clear
Shillings 5,100,200 for his daughter who completed PLE at the school.