What you need to know:
The family is the basic unit of society and it is the duty of parents and guardians to nurture and provide for the child’s holistic growth, especially in these times of disease outbreaks and school closures.
On Friday, schools officially closed for third term holidays and millions of learners were sent home for the long Christmas break.
This was the first full academic year since schools were closed in 2020 for nearly two years to stem the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic that caused havoc around the world, infecting close to 170,000 Ugandans and killing more than 3,600 as of November 26.
It is worrying for parents and authorities alike that schools had to close on November 25, two weeks before the official closing day of the 2022 academic year for primary and secondary schools. This is due to the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease. The directive to close schools earlier was announced at the beginning of this month following the deaths of eight children from the highly contagious disease.
It is important to note, however, that the number of new infections registered in Kampala and the epicentres of Mubende and Kassanda has declined, according to an interview Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng gave to news agency AFP on Friday.
The past two years have been particularly hard for schools, not only because of the Covid and Ebola outbreaks, but also the resultant effects. Many schools were forced to close shop and a considerable number of teachers changed profession after finding other vocations more lucrative.
So as learners arrive home after a year of recovery and catching up on lost classroom time, we appeal to parents to use the long holidays to shape their children. The break comes against a backdrop of an increase of suicide cases among learners. More than 20 cases of suicides involving school-going children have been recorded in the just-concluded school year.
The causes have been attributed to challenges such as highhandedness of school administrators, negligence by parents and bullying. Others include pressure to achieve after almost two years of learning losses and habits such as sports betting.
And while at home, challenges such as child labour, torture and defilement await these children. We appeal to parents and guardians to be these children’s models, providers and protectors.
According to the Uganda National Parenting Guidelines, every child deserves the right to grow and develop properly into a responsible adult. These rights include their physical wellbeing, socio-cultural and emotional, intellectual and creative needs.
The family is the basic unit of society in Uganda and it is the duty of parents and guardians to nurture and provide for the child’s holistic growth, especially in these times of disease outbreaks and school closures.