four candidates at various schools in Kitgum Municipality were locked out of
the Uganda Certificate of Education-UCE examination this morning over failure
to clear school fees. Senior candidates across the country kicked off their UCE
exams around 9:00 Am with the physics practical paper.
However, by 9:35 Am, many candidates at various schools visited by Uganda Radio
Network-URN within Kitgum Municipality had been denied access to sit UCE exams.
Most of the students who were accompanied by their parents were seen camped around
the offices of the headteachers pleading to be cleared to sit the exams.
Kitgum Town College in Central Division, more than 10 students were at the
Office of the Headteacher negotiating to be allowed to sit the UCE exams. The Deputy Head Teacher David Mwaka told Uganda Radio Network in an interview
that only 140 students out of 182 registered candidates had by this
morning cleared their school fees to zero balance.
Mwaka says the school administration is determined to block the students from sitting the examination
once their parents don't make convincing commitments. He notes that they are acting as per the guideline of the Uganda National
Examination Board-UNEB, which mandate schools to block students from sitting
their exams in-case they default on school fees payment.
//Cue in: “Our center has…
Cue out…pay school fees.”//
Mwaka adds that it’s been a habit for some parents who haven’t paid their
children’s schools to make late pleas hoping to gain sympathy. One of the
parents, Vincent Kilama P’Atoo, who had camped at the Head teacher’s office to
plead for his daughter, says he couldn’t raise enough money to clear the school
fees due to the effects of COVID-19.
Kilama, who is a mason, notes that construction jobs have been scanty recently,
adding that he hasn’t received payment for his last job.
//cue in: “Atiyo tic moni…
Cue out:…peko na eno.”//
Another parent, who didn’t want to be named in order to freely speak, says he lost
his job recently and doesn’t have enough savings to clear the school fees
balance for his son.
“Right now I
don’t have any money in my saving, I’m having challenges even at home and my
request is for the school administration to permit my son to sit because he
can’t waste another year in O’Level. Before their exams are out, I would have cleared
the amount I owe them,” he told URN in an interview.
The situation was similar at Msgr. Antonio Vignato Mixed Secondary School also
in Central Division. The school Head Teacher, Fr. Thomas Okello said some
parents couldn't afford to clear the full school fees and opted for last-minute
negotiations to allow their children sit for UCE exams.
Fr. Okello says out of 60 senior four students registered, only 52 turned up to
sit for the examination this morning.
//Cue in: “This year we…
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Richard Okidi Kibwota, the Kitgum Municipal Council Education Officer, says
many parents haven’t been able to pay school fees for the candidates. Okidi advised
the school administration to strike a cordial understanding with the parents to
allow their children to sit the examination.
“You know that…
Cue out…they should discuss,”//
A total of 1,870 students comprising 974 males and 896 females registered for
UCE in Kitgum Municipality.