Private schools have received a lot of criticism over the years for different reasons. From being accused of charging exorbitant school fees to operating below standards, something had to give.
Government’s new guidelines for private schools therefore, are long overdue. If the guidelines are enforced, schools with multiple campuses will be required to establish and register these schools under separate names.
This is to get rid of situations where parents are convinced to enrol their children in a school simply because one of its campuses performs well academically.
This is a good plan considering several parents have written letters to this paper complaining that schools with several branches are in the habit of placing their top students in one branch and placing the rest in other branches without the parents realising what is happening in the background.
When each branch has a separate name, each school will, therefore, have to prove itself without riding on the good reputation one school has developed.
The other guideline requires schools to renew registration every five years. This is so that a school’s standards can be re-evaluated every five years. This looks like a good plan on paper, especially in light of how many schools have been exposed as operating below required standards.
However, it should not negate the importance of regular inspection of private schools. The danger of this guideline is that schools are likely to go uninspected till their five-year re-registration is up.
There is also the issue of how long this re-registration will take, for every private school in the country. A 2017 FSD Uganda study puts the number of private schools in Uganda at more than 2,000, which is a modest number by our estimations.
That number is higher going by the number of schools that register for the national examinations. Modest or not, it illustrates the magnitude of having to re-register each school, every five years. School inspection as it is, is not at its best.
There is, therefore, a danger of school registration being tied up in bureaucracy, affecting not just the schools but the parents and students of these schools as well.
We, therefore, recommend that these guidelines be scrutinised from every angle so that we still have a good environment for investment in education while protecting students and parents from unsavoury school proprietors.
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Publish date : 2018-12-29 07:41:28