What you need to know:
- At least 644,955 teenage pregnancies were recorded during the Covid-19-induced lockdown which lasted about two years, according to the Ministry of Health.
The Minister of State for Education and Sports (Sports), Mr Denis Hamson Obua, has said parents deliberately abandoned their roles to nurture and guide children during the two-year lockdown.
Mr Obua said this has led to a severe increase in school dropouts and defilement among learners.
He made the remarks at the weekend while commissioning a Shs2.5 million science laboratory block at Ocer Campion Jesuit College in Gulu City.
The facility, whose construction started a year ago, was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Mr Obua said during the Covid-19-induced lockdown, thousands of young girls conceived while others got married off prematurely under the watch of their parents who otherwise should have taken the responsibility of taking care of them.
“The lockdown exposed a lot of social fabric in respect to the irresponsibility of family members and parents. Parents have neglected their parenthood roles and responsibilities and handed them over to strangers, who in this case are the teachers,” Mr Obua said.
He added: “During the lockdown parents never took time to talk, mentor, and understand their children. This immensely led to the high rate of teenage pregnancy and early child marriages.”
At least 644,955 teenage pregnancies were recorded during the Covid-19-induced lockdown which lasted about two years, according to the Ministry of Health.
In Acholi Sub-region, a report by Comboni Samaritans of Gulu shows that more than 17, 000 young girls were impregnated during the lockdown.
“Education is a shared responsibility. Now that our children are coming back from school, we would want to call upon the parents because the first line of grooming our children rests with the parents not the teachers in schools,” Mr Obua said.
Gule Archbishop John Baptist Odama said securing the safety and success of children in school can only be achieved if parents begin to fully get involved in the life of their children.
“They have to come out clearly to guide, teach, and show these children the way, this full responsibility also comes alongside several other roles they have to maximally play,” Archbishop Odama said.
The unlimited exposure to technology and misinterpretation of children’s rights by both the children and their parents heavily contributed to the current moral decay among learners, he added.
Mr Obua also reechoed the commitment of the government to promoting sciences and scientists in the country.
“To achieve this, the government has embarked on constructing seed schools in all the sub-counties in the country,” Mr Obua said.
Currently, 117 seed secondary schools have been commissioned, and according to Obua, they all have fully equipped standard Science laboratories.