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NPA Urges Gov't to Reconsider Teenage Pregnancy Guidelines

According to NPA, the one-year time period stipulated in the guidelines is too long for a learner to be out of school.

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The National Planning Authority-NPA has asked the Ministry of Education to rethink its teenage pregnancy guidelines.

The Ministry of Education guidelines on pregnancy were developed in 2020 following an increase in teenage pregnancies reported during the COVID-19 lockdown. Reports indicate that over 200,000 cases of teenage pregnancies were reported nationwide. 


Among these guidelines, pregnant learners were allowed to remain in school until their third month of pregnancy. After delivery, the guidelines recommend that the young mother remain home for at least six months to a year before they can return to school.


While these measures were supposed to help to learn to continue after the closure of schools so as to forestall the spread of COVID-19, authorities are worried that they could lead to more pregnancies. 


According to NPA, the one-year time period stipulated in the guidelines is too long for a learner to be out of school.


Hamis Mugendawala, the Manager of Policy Research and Innovation says during this one-year period that girls are supposed to spend out of school to nurse their children and recover, they may get impregnated again, which will defeat the purpose of the break.
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Mugendawala was speaking on Thursday at a two-day national dialogue on the response to teenage pregnancy among young mothers at the Golf Course Hotel in Kampala. 


According to Mugendawala, the country won't be able to achieve its National Development Plan if teenage pregnancy is not addressed. 

"A recent study funded by UNFPA indicates that 50 percent of the student mothers end up being peasant farmers. 
According to Mugendawala, the government spends around 1 million shillings on teenage mothers. He says some of this money spent could be put to good use elsewhere.


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The government is also being asked to provide psychological support that is currently not catered for.

Rosemary Rwanyange, an education specialist who is also a manager of quality education at UNICEF says that the lack of counseling.



"After a long stay away from schools, we believe psychosocial support is needed for both the learners and teachers. Both these groups were away from school for a long time and we believe this will help both groups, especially learners get used to the learning environment they had forgotten," she said.  


Rwanyange says mental health support and psychosocial support will help pregnant teenage girls and their classmates learn how to exist in the same space.

The planning authority recommends that the government popularizes Technical and Vocational Education Training(TVET) for such learners so that they can learn a skill that will enable them to earn an income even if they do not complete formal education.