By Solomon Hamala
A total of 419 girls in Iganga district who registered for this year’s belated PLE got pregnant and have given birth.
This was revealed by the District Education Officer on Saturday 27th March 2021 while addressing head teachers at Iganga Boys Primary School.
Baker Kasadakawo also said that all the 419 girls who are now teen mothers have been permitted to sit for their Primary Leaving Examinations.
He said that majority of the girls are likely to have been lured into early sex during the COVID 19 lockdown because of rampant poverty.
“Most of these girls who are affected come from poor backgrounds and are likely to have been enticed into having sex after being given small gifts,” he said.
Kasadakawo said the number of pupils who could have fallen pregnant in the district is likely to be higher since lower classes are yet to report for school.
“I know the number could be terribly higher especially with the lower classes since they are yet to report for school due to COVID,” he said.
He also expressed concern over the manner in which some Mwalimu SAACOS were deducting salaries from 166 primary teachers even when they have not sought for the loans.
Kasadakawo appealed to the ministry of education to hold separate interviews for teachers who missed the recent education service commission competency tests to save them from being dropped from the payroll.
He cautioned teachers against sexually abusing their pupils saying any one found guilty automatically risks being dismissed from duty.
The commissioner basic education in the ministry of education and sports, Tophers Mugenyi said there is urgent need to sensitize parents about the need to encourage their children return back to school after the COVID 19 lockdown.
“I know there are pupils who have had intimate love relationships, while others have earned money from providing labor and all these should be counseled to know the importance of completing their education career,” he said.
Meanwhile, the State Minister for Education, Rosemary Seninde urged teachers to allow pupils who have fallen pregnant to return back to school to enable them realize their life time dreams.
Seninde said the Ministry is meeting head teachers across the country sensitizing them on the importance of counseling pupils and teachers who could have engaged in other businesses like boda boda during the COVID 19 lock down to settle down on their duties and avoid despising their superiors.
“Some teachers could have earned more than their bosses, the head teachers during the time they have been away while some pupils could have engaged in some kind of child labor and earned quick money and are likely to take education as useless,” she said.
She urged head teachers to be innovative by introducing monthly awards to outstanding teachers in their respective schools as a way of motivating besides building team work amongst staff.