Muyingo alarmed by teenage pregnancies in Otuke
Otuke – 20, September 2021:
The state minister for higher education has decried the escalating cases of teenage pregnancy in Otuke district, especially during the lockdown.
John C. Muyingo was on Friday last week on a fact finding visit to ascertain the status of learning structures in some of the schools in the district.
In an interface with some of the leaders headed by Francis Abola, the LCV chairman of the district, Muyingo learnt that close to over 1000 girls in Otuke were impregnated following closure of schools by government in an effort to curb the spread of the novel corona virus.
The minister said it is ‘regrettable’ that young girls whose future should be shaped through education has their future shattered as a result of teenage pregnancy. He called on authorities to ensure those who defiled these girls are prosecuted.
“I am going away with a good impression of Otuke because the new leaders are great leaders…..I have loved the hospitality and care….but on a serious not, I was not happy to hear that over 1000 girls of school going age are pregnant,” the minister observed.
He also appealed to the authorities in Otuke district to mobilise the community to protect teenage girls in their communities to avoid further pregnancies, and said after giving birth the teenagers should be given a second chance to return to schools.
The district Woman MP Susan Abeja equally observed that it was sad that that the future of young girls who should be in schools is being ruined by those she calls ‘unscrupulous men’ in the society.
She pledged to work together with the community to arrest the situation.
About two weeks ago, Abeja in her maiden speech in Parliament, told the house that Otuke district has several schools with dilapidated structures which hampers learning.
She also told the house that some of the schools in the district have not been fully taken over by government.
It was upon this background that the deputy speaker, Anita Among who was chairing the house asked Dr Muyingo to tour Otuke district and report to Parliament the education challenges in the district.
While in Otuke, Dr Muyingo visited Ariamet primary school in Atira parish, Ogwete sub county. The school which started as early as 1956 does not have any permanent structure except grass thatch shades improvised as class rooms, a scene that shocked the minister.
He also visited Okere momkok and Baralegi primary schools, respectively and he pledged that government would facelift and improve on the infrastructure of about 10 primary schools in Otuke.
Meanwhile, MP Susan Abeja is also pushing for government to list Otuke among the hard to reach districts in the country to ensure it taps more resources.
“I also realized that we are also having challenges of education because Otuke was not coded as a hard to reach area, so most teachers use Otuke as a stepping stone, once they are recruited, they cross over to other districts,” she observed.
Otuke district has 29 parishes, 463 villages and there are over 51 primary schools and 8 secondary schools. It is on the list of low performing schools in Uganda in national exams.