The Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports has sounded a warning to all private schools against breaking off for holidays before the official calendar day set by the government.
The warning comes ahead of the second term closure officially scheduled for September 2nd which will mark a conclusive end to the recommended 89 days of the term.
Patrick Muinda, the Assistant Commission of Education in charge of Communications and Information Management, says the practice overloads learners with too much to grasp as schools rush the curriculum.
“All school inspectors must keep keen watch on such schools and report the defaulters to the relevant commissioners for appropriate actions to be taken.” Muinda stated.
The Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr. Rose Nassali Lukwago approved a schools’ and other institutions’ calendar-2016. She directed all head teachers in Government and Private schools and Community Polytechnics to follow the calendar.
Dr. Nassali’s circular written on November 18, 2015 reads in part:”This calendar must be complied with by all Education Institutions (Government and Private). No holiday teaching should take place in any institution. Violation of this calendar will call for disciplinary action against Head teachers/Schools.”
Moses Baryomumaisho, the school Director of City SS Ssenge-Kayunga in Wakiso district is among those contemplating to close early because of the associated exorbitant administrative expenses of running the full course of the term.
“We don’t choose to close schools early but the cost of managing a private school is enormous. Coupled with income tax being imposed, many schools may close in the long run,” Baryomumaisho explains.
Baryomumaisho suggested that Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) should apply a discriminate tax policy on the annual income of private institutions because others virtually don’t make profits.
But Ian Muhimbise, Acting Public Relations Officer URA, says private schools and institutions are like any other business entities established for profit making and that calls for a tax remittance obligation.
“They operate to make a profit which is why they have a mandate to remit their annual returns to URA for scrutiny,” Muhimbise says.
But a cross section of private school proprietors argue that they are doing a noble cause by subsidising government’s effort in the education sector and therefore should be tax exempted.
In 2007, government eliminated the 30% income tax levied on private schools including the 6% withholding tax to allow for expansion of education investment, but recommenced in 2015 to reinstate the taxes so as to widen its revenue base.
With the increased liberalization of private education investment, Uganda has more than 20,000 privately owned schools with at least 3,600 of them operating in and around Kampala.