The Farmers voice

Ghosts Haunt Capitation Grant In Toro Sub Region.

How Government is Losing billions to Ghost students in Capitation Grant.


Shivan Bonabana, the Deputy Headteacher at Kako primary school in Kyegegwa district during Class hours.

When the government introduced free primary education in 1997 with the Primary Education Development Program, it came with a particularly important innovation, the capitation grant.

Primary aims of the grant were to replace revenue lost to schools because of the abolition of fees and to improve the quality of education by making real resources available at the school level.

In particular, the capitation grant was meant to finance the purchase of textbooks and other teaching and learning materials, as well as to fund repairs, administration materials, and examination expenses.

According to guidelines, school expenditures that are eligible for the UPE capitation grant include instructional and scholastic materials which take 35 per cent, co-curricular activities take 20 per cent, school management 15 per cent, administration 10 per cent and contingency expenditure take 20 per cent of this grant.

It is a dominant feature of the Primary Education Development Program (PEDP), and many resources have been allocated to it with more than 80 billion shillings in 2009/2010 alone.

However, while Rwabuhinga Richard, the President Uganda Local Government Association praises government for the initiative that he attributes to a number of positive outcomes in government schools, some school authorities have seen it as a chance to steal from government.

These funds are allocated by the government to schools based on the number of enrolled students.

It is this very arrangement that has facilitated the creation of ghost students in some schools in Toro sub region.

By inflating their student counts, these schools aim to secure larger capitation grants from the government, thereby increasing their financial resources.

This arrangement has ended up making government to lose money by paying for ghost pupils in some of the schools in the region.

For example, seated on the valleys of Bundibugyo hills in Bumadu Parish in Bundibugyo district is Bumadu Primary school.

The school according to the authorities receives 3 million shillings quarterly for a total enrollment of 459 pupils that was submitted at the beginning of the term to the District Education Officer.

However, our investigation discovered that the school actually has a total enrollment of 360 pupils indicating a total of 99 pupils are ghosts.

Going by the calculation of 20,000 shillings by pupil, government pays 1,980,000 shillings for ghost pupils at the same school.

According to the documents seen, the school has been receiving this amount since last year in third term, this means that the school has received a total of 3,960,000 shillings since August last year.

For the previous years of 2022 and 2021, the school was receiving 2.5 million shillings against the actual enrollment of 400 that was in school.

By the time we visited the school, we found the deputy head teacher in office who refused to speak to us on camera but instead delegated one of her teachers Otete James to pass on her information to us on our cameras.

According to James, the reason for the inflation of the enrollment figures was done as one way of preparing for the unforeseen factors just in case the enrollment increased during the course of the term.

Just after Bumadu Primary school in the next parish is Bundibugyo Demonstration school in Hamutiti parish Bundibugyo town council.

According to the school head teacher Kabatanzi Ruth, the school’s total enrollment has over time fluctuated ranging between 800 to 900 pupils every term.

However, records at the District Education Officer’s office indicate that the school receives capitation grant for 1022 pupils, a number that was submitted at the beginning of this term.

The school received 6.4 million shillings for this year’s first quarter as capitation grant.

This means that government is paying for 222 ghost pupils at the school for a term where the enrollment was 800 and 122 for a term where the enrollment was 900.

This means that government loses 4,440,000 million shillings and 2,440,000 million respectively at the school.

A parent picks his son from Bundibugyo Demonstration Primary School after Class hours.

In 2023, the same school received 5,150,000 million shillings for the first quarter, 5,150,000 million shillings for the second quarter and 6,450,000 million shillings for the third quarter.

This means that in total, the school received 16,750,000 shillings for a whole year.

Going by the calculations since last year when the school started receiving money under the enrollment of 1022, it indicates that the school has received a total of 8,880,000 million shillings since 2023 for a period when the enrollment in school was 800 and 4,880,000 million shillings for a term where the enrollment was 900.

This means that government has lost a total of at least 12,840,000 million shillings since 2023 to date from the two schools only in Bundibugyo district.

At Harugare village in Harugare sub county, the residents of recent teamed up to collect money for the renovation of the boreholes in the village.

According to the village chairperson, each two boreholes have costed them 1.5 million shillings.

This means the amount of money which government has lost in a period of eight months from the two schools can help in repairing more than 10 boreholes at the same village.

Asked about the difference in numbers of the enrollment and that she had submitted to the district for capitation grant, the school head mistress insists that is the actual enrollment and the differences are being brought about by absenteeism.

According to her, the biggest number of pupils tend to report at the beginning of the term and when the term is ending as they come to sit for the exams.

John Byamukama, the Bundibugyo District Education Officer says his office has recorded allegations of school head teachers that submit inflated numbers in order to get larger capitation grants.

Byamukama however reveals that they have tried to put this right but head teachers try to put it right by saying learners are always absent.

The district education officer also says that the district has the highest rate of absenteeism caused by cocoa production where learners don not report every 15th and 30th of every month.

The same is supported by the Fort Portal City Education officer Richard Alituha who says they have always found it to penalize these head teachers because they normally find a way of justifying why they are inflating the numbers.

In Kyegegwa district, Kako Primary school has a total enrollment of 1007 pupils and receives 6,850,000 shillings per quarter.

However, records at the District Education Officer’s office indicate that its enrollment for which government uses to send the grant at the school is 1022 pupils.

This means that government is paying for 15 pupils that are non-existent at the school accounting for 300,000 shillings.

Mwesige Hossein, the Kyegegwa District Education Officer says the inflated figures in the schools’ enrollment are sometimes unvoidable.

Alituha Richard, the Fort Portal City Education officer says the issue of Ghost students has always been there.

This, however has always been fought using different internal mechanisms which include head counts, unique identification numbers to control it.

Even when government is paying for a surplus number of pupils that are nonexistent at these schools, the head teachers say the money they get is still little when compared to the things they have to buy to keep the schools going.

For example, Kabatanzi says the 6.4 million shillings which she receives per quarter is just a drop in the ocean given that the cost of living has since increased.

In May last year, the Ministry of Education and Sports increased the capitation grant for several levels of education as one of the ways of improving service delivery in the sector.

At the primary school level, the capitation grant rate for the 7.6 million learners in 12,432 schools has been raised from Shillings 17,000 that was given at the start of the financial year 2021/2022 to Shillings 20,000 per learner.

However, while other schools are getting a surplus of the funds due to the creation of ghost pupils in their enrollment, others are getting far little that what they are actually supposed to be getting.

A case in point is Mpanga secondary school in Fort Portal Tourism City, according to the head teacher George Ruyonga Rwabongoya, the school receives capitation for 2545 students yet its current enrollment stands at 3190 students.

This means that the school’s enrollment has increased by 645 students, a figure that is not catered for in the school’s current capitation grant.

In December 2021, government launched Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) to manage learners’ information in the country’s educational institutions.

Rwabuhinga says the issue of inflating school enrollments to get more funds from government is criminal and must be stopped.

The ULGA president who also doubles as the Kabarole district chairperson however acknowledges that the capitation grant given to some schools is not enough and challenges government to double the number.

According to him, government should increase the funds from 20000 per term to 200,000 shillings at Primary level, for secondary at O’level, the funds should be increased from 55000 shillings to 110,000 shillings’ while at A’level, the grant should be increased from 89000 shillings be increased to 16,8000 shillings.

In case government is unable to implement this, Rwabuhinga says parents should be allowed to partner with government so that they can start paying a certain figure to the schools so that they can operate well.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Would love your thoughts, please comment.x