Budaka Head Teachers Under Fire For Flouting UPE Policy

1891 Views Budaka, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
Geoffrey Marcho, the Budaka Resident District Commissioner says his office has instituted a committee to investigate claims that the head teachers were charging parents extra fees to address the financial crisis they are in.

59 primary school head teachers in Budaka district are being investigated for flouting the government’s policy on the Universal Primary Education – UPE. Geoffrey Marcho, the Budaka Resident District Commissioner says his office has instituted a committee to investigate claims that the head teachers were charging parents extra fees to address the financial crisis they are in.
 
The committee is comprised of the District Education officer, District Inspector of Schools and police officers among others. There are claims that these head teachers were charging each pupil 200 shillings for buying chalk. Marcho says if the claims are true, the head teachers were flouting the policy of the Universal Primary Education – UPE which requires free education for all Ugandan citizens.
 
He says he has dispatched a team of investigators to all the 59 primary schools in the district.

//Cue in: “Yesterday I directed…
Cue out: …are truly false.”//

However, during a meeting with the RDC at Budaka Family Helper Project Primary School on Tuesday, all the implicated head teachers denied the claims.  They argued that the claims that appeared in a news article in Daily Monitor of July 2nd are malicious.

In their memorandum presented by Christopher Mudanga, the Chairperson Budaka District Primary School Head teachers Association, the head teachers said all schools in the district had received 100 percent of their last UPE quarter release and that there was no way they would charge extra fees for chalk.

//Cue in: “The statements…
Cue out: …that one we received.”//

Wilson Baker Lyadda, the Budaka District Education Officer says the report took his office by surprise as he was not aware of the surcharge. He says in 10 of the primary schools he visited after the claims emerged, he found out that parents were not being charged any extra money.

He says where as they continue to investigate the claims, his office is certain that there were no such charges.

//Cue in: “These head teachers…
Cue out: …schools for chalk.”//

Peter Watala, a parent at Nyanza II Primary School told URN that he has five children in the school but has never been asked to pay any money for chalk. Watala says he is aware of the UPE policy of free education adding that, he wouldn’t pay the money if he was asked too. 

UPE was introduced in January 1997; following a political commitment by President Museveni that government would meet the cost of primary education of four children per family. This commitment was soon extended to allow all people that wanted to access primary education to do so.

Government abolished tuition fees and all other charges under the UPE program. However parents are expected to contribute pens, exercise books, clothing, meals, bricks and labor for classroom construction.

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.