According to the statement, although the religious leaders are not completely opposed to the return of pregnant and breastfeeding student mothers to schools, they have reservations about how the policy will appropriately be executed in an environment that has other learners who are yet to embark on a journey to parenthood or sexually abused
The Inter-Religious Council of
Uganda-IRCU has called for a review in the government policy on admission of
pregnant and breastfeeding student mothers in schools that re-opened on Monday
after a prolonged lockdown.
In a joint statement read by the
Chairperson IRCU Council His Grace Dr Stephen Samuel Kazimba Mugalu, who is
also the Archbishop of the Province of the Church of Uganda; the religious
leaders observed that the government rushed its decision before dully engaging the
stakeholders on its implementation.
Prior to schools re-opening on
Monday, the Ministry of Education and Sports instructed headteachers to allow
all students to return to school, including giving a second chance to those who
got pregnant or gave birth during the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
According to the statement,
although the religious leaders are not completely opposed to the return of
pregnant and breastfeeding student mothers to schools, they have reservations
about how the policy will appropriately be executed in an environment that has
other learners who are yet to embark on a journey to parenthood or sexually
The statement was issued during the
IRCU members and Buganda clan leaders retreat conducted in Masaka, on Tuesday, to
reflect on the relationship between culture and religion in community
transformation. Archbishop Kazimba said that
there is still a need to have broader consultations with school foundation
bodies to harmonize positions on how to better support all learners without
compromising their values and safety.
He explains that in addition to
the many apparent structural challenges in schools, the ministry guidelines are
silent on the aspect of access to emergency healthcare and antenatal services
to expectant student-mothers, which may become inconveniencing to both the
school administrators and learners when the need arises.
//Cue in; “the anticipated…
Cue out…this reality.”//
Luganda//Cue in; “tetuyinza kuva
The religious leaders also
observed that the teachers who are readmitting teenage mothers and those
expecting do not have the skills of managing such cases, which points to a lack
of readiness and commitment to handling the challenge at hand.
//Cue in; “for government...
Cue out…different levels.”//
Cue out….olw’ensonga eyo.”//
In the meantime, the
Inter-Religious Council has resolved to set up a joint response team that will
monitor and provide psychosocial support to teenage mothers and fathers, as
well as trying to address the other associated aftereffects that include among
According to Dr Kazimba, although
the interventions are intended to address the immediate challenges of sexual
abuse against teenagers, they will also form a basis towards finding a lasting
solution to other social problems, by gradually invoking the participation of