Gov’t issues new directives on accepted school names for private schools

KAMPALA: The education ministry has banned private schools from using academies, college or international school titles.

According to the ministry, titles such as academies and colleges are now the monopoly of institutions offering specialised training such as for the Police and army. International school status is a monopoly of schools licensed, but offering an international curriculum.

Any new school seeking a licence with those titles is advised to change the name of the school, or miss out on getting authorisation from the ministry. These are part of the regulations under implementation for schools that are seeking new automated registration certificates at the ministry.

In September, the education ministry recalled all registration certificates for private secondary schools.

Each school will get a new registration certificate inscribed with computerised security protocols that cannot be manipulated. The new certificates will also include the location of each school, owners and the number of classes enrolled.

The development was confirmed by Haji Ismail Mulindwa, the director basic and secondary schools at the education ministry. For long, he said, these titles have wrongly been used and that they mislead parents.

Under the new guidelines, schools with underperforming branches will be regulated or closed. Instead, proprietors of such schools will be required to give different names to each of the schools and differentiate them.

The new guidelines on licences for establishment, licensing, registering and classifications of private schools/institutions also bars schools from changing locations.

In this case, once a private school or institution changes its location even in a village, they are required to undergo fresh registration at the education ministry. All private schools and certificate awarding institutions will be required to renew their registration every five years.

Update on certification

Edward Ssebukyu, the assistant commissioner in charge of private schools, said about 300 secondary schools in Kampala and greater Masaka have obtained new certificates.

“The first phase of the exercise started in October in the five divisions of Kampala and Greater Masaka districts such as Masaka, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi, Lwengo, and Sembabule,” he said.

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Ssebukyu said they will be moving to the eastern parts of the country. He said proprietors need to prepare documents relating to the registration of the school. Each school is required to present original documents of the licence and registration certificate, land ownership and any other document relating to school ownership.

Ssebukyu said issuance of the new certificates is provided for under the new guidelines on establishment of schools and certificate-awarding institutions in the country. The guidelines were developed in 2012 and that the ministry had begun their implementation.

“The certificates will help us know the numbers of schools in the country and their location which we could not do under the old system,” the assistant commissioner said.

Titles defined

According to the ministry, an academy is a place of study in a special field such as Police, Prisons, and the army.

A college, on the other hand, is an education institution either providing higher education or for specialised professional training or vocational and technical education.

For instance, schools such as Makerere and Kyambogo colleges retained the college status because they were part of training institutions.

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They serve as demonstration schools for the respective teacher training wings of the universities.

Mulindwa said the other famous traditional schools dubbed colleges such as St Mary’s College Kisubi, retained the status because some started as religious colleges or vocational colleges.

“If you are opening any ordinary primary or secondary school, it should be just called a school not international, academy or college,” he said.

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