What you need to know:
- Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa last week warned of dissident gay groups and their networks, targeting learning institutions.
As schools re-open today after a long holiday, parents across the country are concerned about the safety of their children amid reports of growing homosexuality in learning institutions.
This comes after Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa last week blew the lid on dissident gay groups and their networks, targeting learning institutions as major recruitment centres.
Mr Tayebwa, who instructed the House Education committee to speed up investigations into “the menace of homosexuality in schools,” yesterday talked of disturbing messages from parents regarding the issue of homosexuality in schools.
“Our children are in danger, homosexuals have infiltrated our schools and attempts are being made from all corners to lure innocent children into these immoral acts,” Mr Tayebwa told this publication.
“This fight is not for the faint hearted, we must fight back. As Parliament, we are going to investigate this issue, but the head teachers, parents as well teachers must work together and protect our children from these vultures. Every school must come up with measures to deal with the problem and clear notices, warning learners about the dangers of homosexuality,” he added.
Ms Janet Museveni, the Education minister, also came out last week and pledged more support to schools in fighting against homosexuality.
Ms Museveni said “sex education is being abused to incorporate negative ideas that do not conform to our culture”. She asked schools to safeguard against such vices.
Education experts at the weekend recommended a number of measures that should be immediately undertaken to safeguard learners against homosexuality.
Dr Jane Egau Okou, the director of Secondary Education and Technical and Vocation Training (TVET) in the Ministry of Education and Sports, said in a telephone interview at the weekend that close monitoring of learners is one of the key measures that schools must undertake to minimise the risk of exposing students to the vice.
“In the meeting we had with the teachers last week, the chairperson of the head teachers association said in the night some of these people don’t sleep. You have to keep moving around the school to ensure that students are sleeping. So, it is close monitoring; otherwise, the habit will not die if they are not monitored,” Dr Egau said.
Dr Egau explained that since there was also a concern by some head teachers that the vice was also being propagated by some parents, parents should also be engaged in the fight against homosexuality.
She also warned that expelling students from school will not help solve the problem as a student engaged in this vice can easily join another school and continue spreading the habit among his peers.
Mr Hasadu Kirabira, the chairperson of the National Private Education Institution Association (NPEIA), said schools handle a big generation and that the students come from various homes and various backgrounds.
“We have realised that the practice of homosexuality starts within our communities, including the homes of some parents. When they come to school, they share them among their friends,” Mr Kirabira said.
“We are getting scared and that is where schools have to be a bit more serious and observant and also observe the behaviour of some teachers because it is shifting from being a student-centered to teachers being part of this kind of thing,” he added.
Mr Kirabira asked schools to be careful with certain organisations that come to make donations such as learning materials and infrastructure projects.
He explained that “there are some organisations that have come up to support education departments within the districts with reading materials and resources and yet behind it there is something they want to promote. Schools have to be careful with sponsorship, which was not requested for.”
He added: “We must also be careful with roles of senior men and senior women. How do they do their work, whom do they work with, so that they are not left with the autonomy, making certain decision because they might be part of the teams promoting the same immorality within the schools.”
What others say
Merab Ibiasi, head teacher of Sunrise High School, Soroti.
Since this practice originates from the community, we have asked our students to always beware of such people, desist from the practice and report anyone who lures them into it. Students also learn about homosexuality as a sin, while studying Christian Religious Education.
Didas Ampaire, H/M Comboni SS, Bushenyi District: “We intend to make and display postures within the school premises with messages that will encourage learners to avoid being seduced into homosexuality, and lesbianism. The school chaplains will talk about it and also encourage teachers to talk about it before they start teaching, we can even invite people to talk to them about the same.”
Stephen Ojambo, head teacher of Masaba College, Busia.
“We are also sensitising our students about the dangers associated with homosexuality. They can be psychologically affected. Although I have not heard about such cases in Busia so far, our students need serious counselling and guidance since some of them may be exposed to the practice from the communities where they come from.»