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Parents Cry Foul over Increase of School Fees

Led by Derrick Ssengendo, a parent to a senior two student argues that the school should have been considerate to parents because of the negative impact of Covid-19 on the economy since 2020.
SMACK students . SMACK photo

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A section of parents of St Mary's College Kisubi-SMACK are angry over the increment of school fees for continuing students.

The parents accuse the school of defying the government directive against increasing school fees for continuing students.

Derrick Ssengendo, a parent to a senior two student argues that the school should have been considerate to parents because of the negative impact of Covid-19 on the economy since 2020.

Ssengendo says that he had paid full fees for the first term of 2020 when his son had reported for S.1. The term was cut short, almost a month after reporting, in March following the outbreak of Covid-19 in Uganda.

He says that he expected the school not to charge parents afresh.

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In a circular dated January 3, 2022, the Headteacher Brother Deodati Aganyira informed parents and guardians about the revised school fees structure for the various classes in the first term.  He noted that the Board of Directors met on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, and approved the new fees structure.

According to the structure, senior two students will pay 2,348,000 Shillings, S.3 2,618,000, and S.4 2,643,000 Shillings.

Although the education ministry ordered schools not to charge S.3 learners who were automatically promoted from S.2 because their first term was cut short in June last year, Aganyira says the learners will however pay 885,500 Shillings for all delegated services and running costs.

These services and costs include contributions towards electricity, water, legal fees, insurance, and clearing the 3.4 Billion Shillings loan secured for the construction of the  A' level block which was completed in 2018.

However, some parents of S.3 learners are not happy with the explanation.

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Aganyira says fees were adjusted to also cater for the two extra weeks added in this year's first term, amounting to 325,000 Shillings for meals and an additional shillings 75,000 towards emergency repairs to the water plant in Nabinonya.

He explains that it costs an average of shillings 160,000 to feed a student per week because the school provides five meals a day.

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Aganyira says SMACK has maintained support from the government, parents, old students, and the Brothers of Christian Instruction mainly in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

However, in recent years, the school has had to rely heavily on school fees collections due to dwindled funding from particularly the brothers in the USA who have retired.

He also added that while the government pays salaries for 49 of the 80 teachers, parents have to cater for salaries of the remaining 31 teachers plus the 90 non-teaching staff. 

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