Hardly a month after schools reopened to learners in candidate classes, government is shocked at the high numbers of pregnant girls especially in the West Nile region. Speaking to High Sound for children, the senior education officer at the ministry of education and sports, Mr. Henry Semakula said that many girls will not be returning to schools with numbers as high as 700 in some districts. “The situation is very bad in the West Nile region. In Obongi alone, we have ascertained that over 700 girls are pregnant and this happened during COVID”. He said. Mr. Semakula says that districts like many of these girls are immigrants. “In Adjumani, 179 girls are pregnant, 400 are pregnant in Moyo, Yumbe, Maracha and Arua have over 500 girls who are pregnant” Mr. Semakula added. He says the teenage pregnant continues to be one of the reasons that girls are dropping out of school and it’s time for concerted effort in addressing the problem. Speaking at a discussion on the international Day of the girl child organized by Raising Voices, the acting gender technical advisor at the ministry of education and sports, Ms. Rosette Nanyanzi says the ministry has decided to have all pregnant girls under three months return to school and register for exams. “We have decided as the ministry to have all girls who are three months and below to register for exams and also attend classes but those above three months will register and study from home”. She said. She says they are working with schools to ensure that the girls are supported. “We are working with Teachers, head teachers and senior women to see how to support the girls stay in school”. She added. According to a report by the United Nations Population fund, over 6,888 school going girls below the age of 18 conceived between January and June 2020, much of which was during the COVID lockdown period.

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