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Head Teachers Demand Resolute Effort on Teenage Pregnancies

Rosemary Birungi, the head teacher of Muhwiju Primary School in Bugambe Sub County, Hoima district says that most early marriages and pregnancies are registered in upper primary classes.

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Head teachers in Hoima district are calling for government intervention to end cases of defilement, teenage pregnancies and child marriages. The three problems have increased the number of school drop outs in Bunyoro sub region, according to the teachers.

Rosemary Birungi, the head teacher of Muhwiju Primary School in Bugambe Sub County, Hoima district says that most early marriages and pregnancies are registered in upper primary classes.  Birungi says that over the last two years, her school has accommodated pregnant girls in primary seven and is supporting one other girl to complete P7 this year.

This is in line with a government directive allowing those in candidate classes to sit their final examinations. Previously, the policy in government was that pregnant girls should be expelled from school as soon as they are found to be pregnant.

However, several girls still withdraw from school once they establish that they were pregnant, in order to avoid shame among their peers. As a result, the number of girls completing the education cycle continues to dwindle, compared to the boys.

Primary school enrollment statistics indicate that although the enrollment at the primary level stands at 49 per cent girls 51 per cent boys, less than 30 percent of the girls who start primary one, complete Primary seven.

Birungi says a concerted efforts needs to be taken to ensure that girls complete the education cycle without going through the challenges of pregnancy.

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Jonan Magezi the head teacher Bugambe Secondary School faults parents for neglecting parental responsibilities, thereby pushing children to men, who demand for sex in exchange for money, books, and sanitary pads among other needs.

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A head teacher who preferred anonymity told URN that he has several times got into trouble with parents as he traces for primary seven girls who are either pregnant or were married off after registering for exams. He says there has been little effort to apprehend men who impregnate or marry the school girls.

Dan Muhairwe, the Buhaguzi County Member of Parliament says that whoever is involved in aiding early marriages should be apprehended to ensure that the chain is broken.

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