The school new she was due any moment but allowed her to sit her UCE examinations. Eighteen-year-old Sarah Neumbe Nandudu went into labour during her English Paper 2 examination last Thursday.
She gave birth to a healthy baby girl at Mount Masaba High School in Mbale. Her delivery during exams was the second such incident after Natika Nawumbwe, who delivered at Bukooli Central College in Bugiri District.
Ms Nandudu’s head teacher, Mr Siraji Muhwana, said: “As a school policy, we cater for the women who have got married and want to come back to school to pursue their studies. So this is not a new thing in school.”
Ms Zaina Nambozo, a colleague, says Ms Nandudu disappeared when she got pregnant for fear of stigmatisation and only resurfaced for examinations. Mr Mukwana added that two students, Alima Nafungo and Proveya Alepa Proveya, had missed examinations.
The school authorities suspect that the girls could have got married. They urged students to avoid sex in order to achieve their dreams. Mr Massa Wambede, an exam supervisor and also the deputy head teacher of Mbale High School, said schools cannot stop expectant mothers from sitting exams after they have registered.
Mr Muhwana told the Daily Monitor that the incident was happening for the third time; first in November, 2001 and again in 2003.
Elsewhere, schools continued to struggle through the science practical exams without adequate specimens. Ms Aminah Mukasa, the head teacher of Kololo High School, said because government delayed to release capitation grants, many schools have struggled to find money to buy materials.
Ms Mukasa, who also chairs the private schools association partnering with government on USE, said many schools have been forced to borrow high interest loans to buy the required materials.
In yesterday’s biology practical, the schools were required to buy mammal bones that could not be purchased earlier because of perishability and for fear of leakage but without cash, many found themselves in dilemma.
Mr Francis Agula, the assistant commissioner secondary education, yesterday expressed worry over schools going for loans at as high as 30 per cent interest rates, saying the loans were not included in the capitation grants.