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Girls Highlight Harassment, Forced Marriages as Challenges to Education

Alowo Grace Fiona, a student at Petta Community Secondary School in Tororo district cited early and forced marriages as a key issue preventing girls from attaining education. She painfully indicated how some parents look at their daughters as sex objects only good for marriage.
Students from different schools debate in the parliament chambers on girl child education.

Audio 4

Students from different schools in the country have highlighted poor menstrual hygiene management, forced marriage and sexual harassment as some of the major challenges to girl-child education.

Uganda Radio Network-URN interviewed some of the girls today as Uganda joins the world to mark the International Day of the Girl Child.

                        

Alowo Grace Fiona, a student at Petta Community Secondary School in Tororo district cited early and forced marriages as a key issue preventing girls from attaining education. She painfully indicated how some parents look at their daughters as sex objects only good for marriage.

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Arach Majorie, a student at Kamuli Girls boarding primary school, says that some girls are sexually harassed by male teachers which sometimes leads to pregnancies and school dropout.  

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Arach also noted that some parents neglect their children's needs which in the end results into wrong decisions that keep girls away from school.  

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Joan Kyesubire from Kamuli College School cited menstrual hygiene management as a challenge to girls in schools. She appealed to government to provide affordable sanitary pads to girls in schools.  

The students today held a mock debate in the Parliament Chambers in which they urged government to prioritise girl-child education. The debate was steered by a primary seven pupil from Kamuli girls' primary school, Asumpta Muwanse.

During the debate organised by Plan International, students noted that girls staying longer in school will help reduce the country's high population growth and also improve family health.

Arach Majorine noted that when girls stay longer in schools, the rate at which babies are produced reduces because educated women give birth to a number of children they can manage hence helping to control population growth.

Ivan Okuru, a pupil at Agweng Primary School in Lira district said that educating a girl child improves on family health noting that children from educated mothers have access to good nutrition since they are fed on a balanced diet.

Rashid Javed, the Country Director Plan International, said that violence against girls in school, corporal punishment, bullying and others have been found as big issues contributing to the high rate of girl-child drop out in schools.

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A recent report by the International Centre for Research on Women examined factors that contribute to girls aged between 14 and 18 years dropping out of school in Uganda.

The report indicated that more than 50 percent of girls drop out because of economic factors followed by early pregnancies.