By APN Reporter
The administration of Victorious Preparatory school in Mwisi parish,Kitumba sub-county, Kabale district have come under fire from district education authorities for detaining two primary seven candidates over unpaid school fees.
After 2020 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) were sat on 3th-31st March this year, the school administration led by the director Julius Arineitwe and headteacher Justus Bataringaya and administrator Godfrey Asasire detained Swaleh Junior Mayanja ,13, and Swahaba Selemba ,11, all sons of Swaleh Mayanja a resident of Kalungu district and a private teacher in Kigali, Rwanda.
The school administrators accused the candidates of failure to clear shillings 1.64 million school fees for the third term. Flavia Ineema Nansubuga, an auntie to the candidates say that Swaleh assigned her to take care of the role of the guardian to the children after he could not easily travel to and from Uganda to check on them due to Uganda-Rwanda restrictions and Covid-19 pandemic.
Nansubuga says that after the PLE exams, she waited for children to come home since it is a few kilometres from Kabale town where she resides to Kitumba where the school is located but in vain. Nansubuga says that she went to check why the children did not arrive home since they had already completed exams. Nansubuga however says that she was told by the school administrators that the children were detained for not clearing all the school fees.
Nansubuga says that on contacting Mayanja on what is going on, Mayanja explained on phone before her and the school administrators how he is unable to send the money from Rwanda to Uganda due to security tension between the two countries.
Nansubuga says that Mayanja continued to plead with the school administration to understand the problem and release the children in vain. Nansubuga says that it is when she agreed with Mayanja to drag the matter to police and the office of the district education department for help.
On Monday evening, Muhamad Chewalyanga, acting Kabale District Police Commander, Enock Hatangimana, Kigezi region Police Community Liaisons Officer and Moses Bwengye Tumwijukye, Kabale District Education Officer, Catherine Kyomugisha, Kabale District Inspector of Schools stormed the school to demand for an explanation to why children were being detained at the school yet they sat their PLE exams last month.
Tumwijukye told our reporter that however much the parent of the children has not cleared all the school fees, it does not qualify school administration to detain innocent children. Tumwijukye says that as authorities they have made sure that the innocent children are released and handed over to Nansubuga but also make a written agreement with Nansubuga to make sure that she and the Mayanja forge ways of paying a debt to the school.
Muhamad Chewalyanga, acting Kabale District Police Commander says that the decision of the school administrators to detain children is illegal because it violates the rights of children. Chewalyanga also says that no other person or institution has a legal mandate to detain other than police. He however urges parents to also have a better way of settling such matters than making innocent children pay the price of the circumstances.
Chewakyanga adds that this is the first case of children being detained by school administrators over fees payment in Kabale district.
When contacted, the school Headteacher, Justus Bataringaya insisted that there is no way how the administration could release children without assurance about the unpaid fees. Bataringaya accuses Mayanja of being an irresponsible parent. Bataringaya argues that the decision to detain the two children was reached basing on how Mayanja defaulted school fees for his other girl child that completed at the school in 2018 for defaulting shillings 5,100,200 school fees.
Bataringaya also argues that Mayanja had said that nobody should pick his children from school except himself. Bataringaya also faults Mayanja for rushing to authorities instead of paying like he has been promising.