As schools prepare for re-opening, Girl Child Initiative Uganda (GCIU), a Community-based Organization has called upon government and school administrations to create an enabling environment that will allow pregnant students to go back to school, register and sit for their final examinations.
In a statement released on Monday, GCIU says, whereas for various reasons some girls have gotten pregnant, their right to education must be respected.
In his latest address to the nation on the COVID-19 situation, President Museveni announced reopening of schools on October 15 2020 for the candidate classes of P-7, S-4, S-6, finalists in tertiary colleges and universities.
According to the GCIU Executive Director, Nickson Segawa, candidates and finalists who got pregnant during the lockdown should not be left to lose their valuable future but should be allowed to also go back, catch up with their studies, sit for their final exams so as to redeem their future.
He said, educating a girl child is key to a thriving society, these girls should not be left out.
GCIU says the decision to re-open schools is timely due to the enormous effects that most girls in the country have suffered as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown measures that have been imposed on the country since March.
With the prolonged stay out of school and without the support system of teachers and school administrators, many girls have been left vulnerable to teenage pregnancy, early childhood marriage and gender-based violence, among other devastating effects of Covid-19.
According to a Police report, 4,442 cases of defilement were reported between January and April 2020. Sauti reported 800 cases of sexual abuse between January and May 2020, including increased cases of teenage pregnancy.
Segawa encouraged parents to offer the vulnerable girls all the necessary support and care that they need as they go through the trying moment of their lifetime. He said pregnant girls may not necessarily be allowed in class, but facilitated to study at home and allowed to register for end-of-year exams.
“To the girls, pregnancy is not the end of life, you can always pick it up and don’t allow to lose your future. We encourage you to go ahead and register and sit for your final examinations” He said.