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February 5, 2023
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High School Fees Costs undermines Efforts to Fight Girl Child Drop-out Rate

By Nixon Segawa

The continued soaring cost of acquiring Education in the country is watering down all efforts in reducing school drop-out rate of especially the girl child.

With the economic hardship in the country where the cost of living has gone high, with many families going without food and water, going to school and later acquiring education becomes a by-the-way.

The girls who had endured to rejoin school after a two years period of the COVID-19 lockdown are having no option but to drop out of school and begin working as house maids, bar maids, street vendors and hawkers.

School managements have fueled the situation by increasing schools fees, asking a long list of school requirements, conditioning zero balance at the beginning of the term among others.

According to a report by UNICEF, one in ten children did not report back to school in January, while the National Planning Authority (NPA) estimated last year that up to 30% of children could drop out of school due to COVID-19 fallout.

Now with the soaring bills at school, the number of those dropping out is increasing each day. It’s so unfortunate that government is not doing enough in addressing the matter given the fact that we are running a free market economy. The Minister of Education and Sports has continued to make orders to the effect that no school should increase fees without first seeking approval but these orders have fallen on deaf ears.

Schools including the government aided schools have increased school fees without seeking any approvals from the Ministry.

As Girl Child Initiative Uganda (GCIU), we demand that government walks the talk. It should not be seen to just talk of punishing schools that have defied the orders against hiking fees but should go ahead and implement the punishment. Some schools should serve as an example to the rest.

The Ministry should come out and regulate the fees paid in schools as it had promised way back in 2018.

Government should address the factors that have increased the cost of living which include in the country which include: the high fuel prices, cost of food supplies, cost of transportation

The government should further increase capitation grant from Shs20,000 as it was revised in May to a reasonable figure that matched the high cost of living to enable government aided schools run better.

Notes: Girl Child Initiative Uganda (GCIU) is a girl child empowerment community based organized in Wakiso district championing the right to education of children especially the girl child. Fights to reduce the drop out rate and advocates for a favorable school environment.

Nixon Segawa, the author is the Executive Director Girl Child Initiative Uganda (GCIU)

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