Several schools in Luweero district have compelled fees defaulting candidates to sign agreements before allowing them to sit Uganda Certificate Exams-UCE.
The ordinary level examinations entered the day two on Tuesday with candidates sitting Chemistry practical examinations. According to Uganda National Examination Board-UNEB, up to 336,740 candidates are sitting the national examination from 3,658 centers across the country.
However, Luweero some schools attempted to block some candidates from sitting the exams for alleged failure to clear tuition prompting the District Police Commander, Benson Byaruhanga to intervene.
He convened meetings involving the candidates, their parents and school administrators to chat away forward. Two of the schools that had blocked candidates from accessing the examinations rooms are Luweero Secondary School and New Life Secondary School.
According to Byaruhanga, following his intervention, the schools allowed the fees defaulters to sit exams and clear later. Paul Mukungu the Director New Life Secondary School says they wanted the fees defaulters to clear because they are incurring high costs of administering the exams.
Mukungu says they have allowed 75 candidates with uncleared fees to sit the exams with written commitments from their parents to clear soon.
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William Ssuuna, the Head teacher Luweero Secondary School, says they want all the defaulting candidates to bring their parents to commit themselves when they will clear the fees balances before they allow them to sit exams.
Ssuuna explains that some candidates have fees balances of over Shillings 1.2 million, which have accumulated over several terms and could only allow them to sit exams after committing themselves in writing to clear the money.
He queried the high costs of administering practical examinations, saying he spent Shillings 15 million on buying apparatus and specimens among other items. Ssuuna noted that there is no way schools can cover such huge costs if a large number of candidates don't clear their fees balances.
At Luweero Central Secondary School, Mathias Ssenfuka the Director of Studies said at least 50 candidates and their parents signed agreements committing to pay fees before and after exams.
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Some affected parents led by Sam Mukasa, a parent at New Life S.S, say they wanted to clear the fees but were financially incapacitated this season. They however appreciated the school officials for being considerate and allowing their children to sit exams.
Dan Odong, the UNEB Executive Secretary told URN that the examination body had no say in the issue of fees payments. He encouraged parents to meet their obligations to enable schools extend services to them.
Odong noted that there is a belief that after registering their children for examinations, parents forget their obligations and want their children to sit exams even without paying fees, which is wrong. He advised parents to seek the attention of head teachers before exams in case they fail to raise fees rather than waiting for their children to be blocked and rush to complain.