Mukono. A civil society organisation has asked a school in Mukono District to allow a Senior Four candidate, who had been suspended after she was found pregnant, to sit exams.
Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) wrote a letter to St Andrew Secondary School saying Oliver Nalubowa’s suspension is a violation of her rights.
“We have received a complaint from Nalubowa Oliver, a student registered to sit Senior Four exams at your school. Ms Nalubowa reports that you have suspended her on grounds of being pregnant, thereby denying her an opportunity to sit the final Uneb (Uganda National Examinations Board) examinations currently ongoing countrywide,” the letter to the head teacher reads in part.
“This letter is to demand that you admit her back to class to sit her Uneb examinations with immediate effect or face legal action as your actions are illegal and an abuse of Ms Nalubowa’s fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda,” the letter states.
Ms Primah Kwagala, the programme manager for strategic litigation at CEHURD, on Friday explained that the school management has since refused to admit the student back into school despite receiving their letter.
She warned that the only option left is sue the school for violation of the student’s rights by denying her an opportunity to education as guaranteed in the Constitution.
Similar case in the past
In 2014, the Uganda Human Rights Commission handled a similar case where unmarried pregnant students of Bishop Barham University in Kabale District were suspended and barred from sitting the end of semester examinations by the university administration. The commission in its ruling held that whereas the university’s decision to suspend the students was on account of the breach of its regulations and code of conduct, it was their considered view that such a harsh decision was in total disregard of the rules of natural justice, fairness and in contravention of the Constitution.
“The UHRC, therefore, strongly condemns the decision by the Bishop Barham University administration to suspend and bar the affected students from sitting for the end of semester examinations since it violates a number of rights of the affected students as provided in the 1995 Constitution of Uganda,” the commission ruled.
The commission further ruled that the university’s actions were discriminatory.
Other violations cited were the principle of natural justice and the right to a fair hearing.