Govt slams Church on pregnant girls

Bishop James Ssebagala prays for children during Service on January 8. PHOTO / CHARLES JJUUKO

What you need to know:

  • The State Minister for Higher Education, Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo, in an interview yesterday at Uganda Media Centre said learners whether pregnant or not, should return to school.

Government has slammed Church of Uganda for blocking pregnant girls from reporting to schools, saying it is doing so in ignorance of the existing guidelines from the Ministry of Education.

The critique followed calls by the Bishop of Mukono Diocese, Rt Rev James Williams Ssebaggala, directing teachers in all Church of Uganda-founded schools to block pregnant or breastfeeding girls from schools.

The State Minister for Higher Education, Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo, in an interview yesterday at Uganda Media Centre said learners whether pregnant or not, should return to school.

“The government is saying each and every child should be helped to go to school and complete his or her programme. That is the policy and there are good reasons why the government came up with that policy. These children are our wealth and gold,” Mr Muyingo said.

He added: “Whenever we have the opportunities to educate them and skill them, we are adding value to their lives and Uganda as a whole. So anybody who is trying to talk against the policy, my understanding is that they have not understood that there are accidents in this world.” 

He added: “...What I understand is that he is my bishop where I happen to stay. I am planning to pay him a visit so that we share and exchange ideas. I am sure once they have understood, they will help us and implement the government policy.”

Bishop Ssebaggala was criticised on social media after his statement.

Ms Gloria Adero said: “In fact school policies should be reformed to be more accommodative to such girls most of whom are survivors of sexual abuse. Don’t magnify barriers to young mothers attaining education which is a right for all and not a privilege. Some men of God read the backs of their Bibles.”

Ministry guidelines

“The school and the parent or caregiver shall enter into an agreement by signing a committal form for the girl to be retained at school up to three months and to apply for readmission not later than one year after giving birth.” 

The guidelines further stipulate that pregnant girls in candidate classes (P7, S4 and S6), should be allowed to sit for the respective national examinations.

The school counsellor, including a health worker from a nearby health facility, shall ensure that the parents/caregivers and the girl receive more than one session of counselling and refer the girl to a health facility for antenatal services.
 

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