As thousands of students across the country sat for their Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education examinations (UACE) on Monday, November 11, Ugandans were shocked to witness fifteen senior six students of Iganga Top Care, a private secondary school in Iganga municipality miss their S6 final exams over fees balances.
The UACE exams are the final exams of the secondary school career before a student can embark on their university studies.
Despite pleas from the students, their parents and eventually area leaders, the school refused to relent and let the students sit the examinations. As the students broke into wails at a wasted year and possibly ruined future, angry Ugandans took to social media and through phone calls to express their displeasure.
Dennis Nuwagaba Reverand argued, “Parents should have engaged the school administration and worked out a school fees payment plan, short of this the DPC, RDC and LC 5 have no authority over the private school policy.
A student can still access a pass slip and certificate from UNEB despite having not paid de fees arrears.”
Denis Harry Kimpi sympathized with the position of the owners of the school. He said, “Without even mincing words, let’s agree that, a school is a business, whose survival entirely depends on fees students pay.
Teachers have a right to be paid before students sit exams. In the current digital generation, students are able to access their UNEB results on phone without having to go to school, this means that, if the student has no interest in the results due to poor performance, he won’t just go back to school, making the fees balance a loss to the school.
The parents should have been responsible enough to approach the school admin for a consensus before the day of the exam.
We shouldn’t soak our heads in the sand, a private school is a business, it has bills to clear and development to make.”
An angry Mwanaisha Musa railed, “IT IS NOT OKAY! DEFINITELY NOT OKAY! SURELY NOT OKAY! it can never be okay!!!!!! People should not that at the end of the day we are all humans….empathy is key! These are skills that schools try to force on students but they do not practice.”
Twikirize Claire sought to remind those passionate about the students unfortunate fate that, “Of course not, the same applies to hospitals/ medical personnel that refuse to treat pple coz of money and they pass on. I wonder whether they jubilate after doing such to “poor pple.”
Denis Harry Kimpi insisted on making his point, “A lot of comments are sentimental and emotionally motivated. In my form3, several years ago I borrowed money from a fellow student to pay my fees, after school almost denied me exams, mind you I was among the first 3students, I had partial scholarship, I also knew they depended much on my performance to sell their school, but I never threatened, I just talked to my friends and one of them borrowed me 80k, to clear my remaining portion. For a S6 student to be demanded 50k and all they do is comfortably bring police to school is abject pride and naivity.
So sad they missed, but this will be a precedence for other students- Education for us the poor is a hustle, u set targets and chase. Not leveraging on cheap popularity of the media.”
Mugumya Nelson Wa David was having none of it, “whether the school denies them exams still doesn’t get paid! That’s jealousy for no reason! Let them do papers if they pass them they will clear yr balance as they are coming for their results slips and certificate.”
Nabwire Justine dispelled the notion that simply being a government school does not mean the students could sit the exams, “Makerere university is a government institution but no body sits exams without clearing tuition. Actually there is a penalty for paying late. Now here we are at a private school and you all want them to allow the students sit exams without payments. How do you expect that school to function? Am sure those same students had been warned before and they chose to appear at school without clearing the fees balance. These days results are got on phone and most people won’t pay until they need the payslips. That means the schools have to wait until then. Those students and their parents could have sorted this before the exams and maybe agree when to pay. Besides let’s learn to take children to schools we can afford.”
But Ritah Fionah Okwalinga sought to clarify that, “Just to remind you…. Gone are the days when u would access results on phone with even fees balance….. Nowadays, it’s not like that my dear.. The system has changed!! You can never be able to access results on phone if you have a fees balance so please mind your words….. Carry out research before you come here to comment.”
But Aggie Dora Nguma summed up with her own experience, “I was unable to pay tuition balance for my son at the time of final exams; however when i spoke to the Registrar he told me that the boy could sit but his results would be withheld. As simple as that, and that is what happened.”
Speaking on the matter earlier in October 2019, James Turyatemba the Manager, Exam Management at UNEB, said the fate of students who have not completed their tuition fees by the examination period lies in the hands of school authorities.
Initially, the Uganda National Examination Board allowed all candidates to sit their exams but gave the schools discretion to hold on to the results of those whose tuition had not been cleared.