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The Procedure for Applying for Licensing of a Private School or Institution in Uganda

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Once an individual gets written permission from the PS/ES to start and operate a school, the next step is to construct buildings appropriate for the level and type of the intended school or institution.

The procedure for licensing a private school or institution in Uganda consists of the following easy steps:

  1. The prospective proprietor must obtain licensing forms from the MoES HQ/district/Municipal Education Office and fill them out in triplicate to meet the requirements.
  2. The proprietor must request an inspection of the school or institution by DIS/MIS and D/MHI to assess compliance with the requirements stipulated in Section 31 of the Education Act 2008 (Pre-Primary, Primary, and Post-Primary).
  3. After inspection, the District/Municipal Inspectors of Schools (D/MIS) and District/Municipal Health Inspectors (D/MHI) will write detailed inspection reports and endorse the application forms, which will be forwarded to DEO/MEO to approve the application form as well.
  4. The District/Municipal Education Officer will forward three copies of the application forms and the relevant supporting documents on three files to the PS/ES (in case of post-primary) and CAO/Town Clerk (in case of Primary).
  5. Based on the reports or recommendations from the district or a statement following a physical inspection by the inspectors, the PS/ES (in case of post-primary) CAO/Town Clerk (in case of primary) approves or rejects the application for licensing.
  6. Upon approval, the PS/ES/CAO/Town Clerk awards an operational license to the school or institution to last for two school years as stipulated in Section 32 of the Education Act 2008 (Pre-Primary, Primary, and Post-Primary) and copies of the license should be sent to the Director for Directorate of Education Standards, District/Municipal Education Officer, and District/Municipal Inspector of Schools.
  7. MoES/DEO/MEO retains one file; the second is for the DEO (in case of post-primary), and the third is for the school. The proprietor ensures that the school receives a copy.
  8. Six months before the expiration of the two-year license, the proprietor must collect a Registration form from the MoES (headquarters), District/Municipal Education Offices.
  9. If the school does not qualify for registration, the proprietor must apply for license renewal within one month of the license’s expiration. License renewal is for one year only. If the proprietor is not ready to register the school at the end of the year renewal, it will be closed summarily by the PS/ES.
  10. All new schools or institutions should begin at the beginning of the academic year as set out in the schools/institutions calendar issued by the Ministry of Education and Sports. Therefore, applications for licensing schools such as Pre-Primary, Primary, and Secondary schools should be submitted to the PS/ES/CAO/Town Clerk starting in June. Schools will receive Licenses by December 30th to begin in January or February of the preceding year.
  11. The proprietor must provide copies of the occupancy permit for the school structures.

Which documents must be attached to the application forms for licensing/registration of a private school/institution?

To apply for a school license, proprietors must attach the following documents to the application form:

  1. Photographs showing the general school plant, including: 

(a) classrooms with furniture 

(b) a four-classroom block 

(c) laboratory/science room with essential equipment for post-primary schools/institutions 

(d) separate toilets/pit latrines for male and female students 

(e) administration block, etc. 

(f) the school signpost must be visible in at least one of the photographs.

  1. Either a land title or sales agreement(s).
  2. In the case of rented premises, provide the tenant agreements, and the period should not exceed four years.
  3. Technically drawn building plans indicate the school’s name and specifications.
  4. A location plan clearly showing the site.
  5. Partnership deeds and Articles of Association in case of partnerships.
  6. Authentic certified copies of teachers’ academic and professional documents.
  7. Proprietor’s CVs and recent photographs.
  8. Head teacher’s CVs and recent photographs.
  9. A bank statement as proof of liquidity of the school (sufficient to pay staff for three months).
  10. A copy of the document showing terms and conditions of service for the different categories of staff employed in the school.
  11. School rules/Code of conduct approved by the BOG’s and Management Committee.
  12. Detailed District School Inspector’s Report.
  13. Detailed District Health Inspector’s Report.
  14. Three referees: LC.1 chairperson, L.C. 1 secretary for Education, and a local religious/opinion leader.
  15. L.C III Chairperson’s letter confirming that the school is within the sub-county plan.
  16. Evidence of facilities for co-curricular activities, such as a playground.
  17. Signed appointment and acceptance letters (contracts) lasting at least one year with all teaching and non-teaching staff.

All the above must be submitted when applying for a school license.

You must attach the following additional documents If the request is for school registration, along with the ones already mentioned:

  1. Photographs of the school showing more details such as:

(a) The exterior view of the 4-classroom block

(b) Students in the classroom ready for a lesson

(c) Laboratories with equipment (showing both interior and exterior views)

(c) Separate toilets/pit latrines for boys, girls, and teachers.

(d) Administration block (showing both interior and exterior views)

(e) Library with essential textbooks (showing both interior and exterior views)

(f) Playground with facilities like goalposts, etc.

  1. A detailed inspection report by DES.
  2. A copy of the 2-year-old license letter.
  3. Education Management Information System (EMIS) code (number)
  4. Evidence of the approved BOG/SMC by the Minister of Education and Sports/Chief Administrative Officer.

If you are requesting an upgrade from “O” to “A” level status for your school, you need to attach the following documents along with the registration documents:

  1. A copy of the license letter.
  2. The original certificate of registration of the school.
  3. Minutes of the Board of Governors meeting approve and recommend upgrading the school to “A” level.
  4. The District Inspector of Schools’ report showing the status of the following:
  5. i) The laboratory for “A” level with the list of basic chemicals and apparatus available.
  6. ii) A list of core books available in the library.

iii) The status of the classes for “A” level for both Arts and Science subjects.

  1. iv) The number of pieces of furniture in the “A” level classrooms.
  2. v) Catchment area.
  3. Analysis of “O” level results of senior four candidates handled so far.
  4. List of graduate teachers, their qualifications (registration certificates), academic and professional documents, appointment letters, and contracts at this level, as well as the subjects they teach.


After obtaining written permission from the PS/ES to establish and run a school, the proprietor is responsible for constructing appropriate buildings that align with the intended level and type of school or institution. The proprietor must ensure the design of the buildings meets the necessary safety standards and regulations while also providing adequate space and facilities to support the educational needs of the intended students.

Such standards refer to providing classrooms, laboratories, libraries, recreational areas, and other necessary amenities that would facilitate the smooth running of the institution. The proprietor must also ensure that the buildings are appropriately equipped with modern technologies and infrastructure to enhance the quality of Education and provide a safe learning environment for students and staff. All new or subsequent sites/extensions must be processed independently. The school opens to the public at the start of the new calendar year.

Registration of schools takes place between October and December of each year. Proprietors who wish to register their schools in a given year should ensure that their files are submitted to the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) headquarters by June 30th of the preceding year. This arrangement will enable the Directorate of Education Standards (DES) to inspect the school and advise the Permanent Secretary regarding registration. The registration certificate is valid for five years, after which the school must get a review for another certification to be issued. Accelerated registration can only be granted with the express permission of the Permanent Secretary, Education Secretary, or the Town Clerk for post-primary and primary schools, respectively. Always rely on Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) information.

About the Author

Robert Mwesige is a Certified Trainer of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and a Certified Financial Literacy Trainer of the Bank of Uganda (BOU). He is also a Certified Digital Marketing Expert by Google, the HubSpot Academy, Accenture, and OpenClassrooms.

Robert received an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) from Quantic School of Business and Technology in Washington, DC, USA. He graduated with an MBA in Marketing at the 14th Convocation of Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pimpri, Pune, in August 2023. He also holds a First-Class Honors Degree in International Development Studies from KYU, Kampala.

Robert is the lead Online Marketing Expert at Geotech ICT Consulting Uganda. He is also a content designer (Web Editor) and Has Previously Participated in High-Level Consulting Assignments, Including Strategy Development, Executive Coaching, And Training. At Houston Executive Consulting, he writes knowledge and insight articles on human resources, financial literacy, and business management. Robert is the founder and CEO of Guiding Lads Uganda, a Tour and Travel Company in Uganda.

In his free time, Robert Enjoys Listening to Live Band Music, which includes A Mix of Ugandan Afrobeat Songs, Gospel Music, South African Oldies, Congolese Soukous, and Ballroom Rumba.

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