The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has warned schools across the country to stop tying tuition fees to the purchase of school requirements directly from schools.

CCPC public relations officer Namukolo Kasumpa said in a statement that the practice was disadvantaging the general public because it constituted unfair contract terms, and also distorted the competition landscape among players in the provision of school requirements.

Kasumpa stated that the Commission demanded that pupils should be allowed to attend classes whether they procured school requirements from other places, as long as such items met the prescribed standards by a particular school.

“The Commission is concerned with the growing tendency by schools to tie school fees for tuition to other activities that have no direct link to education. The Commission is aware that some schools have been forcing pupils to purchase school uniforms, exercise books and other school items from the schools or PTAs’ shops, failure to which pupils are removed from class. The Commission is concerned that pupils are not being allowed in class if they purchase items such as school uniforms and exercise books from other sources even when these items are in conformity with the school’s requirements. This conduct disadvantages the general public and constitutes unfair contract terms. The conduct also distorts the competition landscape among the players in the provision of school requirements,” Kasumpa stated.

She warned of serious penalties against schools that would not adhere to CCPC’s call.

“The Commission recognises the need for schools to undertake projects and raise funds, but is against the practice of tying the school fees or places and attendance of class to the purchase of school uniforms, exercise books or other school requirements directly from the school. The Commission, therefore, reiterates the fact that pupils should be allowed to attend class whether they procure school requirements from another place as long as such items meet the prescribed standards by the relevant school. This, therefore, serves as a timely warning to all schools that are involved in this practice that the Commission will not hesitate to impose appropriate penalties on any person who violates the Competition and Consumer Protection Act No.24 of 2010,” stated Kasumpa.