By Najib Mulema

Child pregnancy, according to a Uganda Demographic Health Survey (UDHS) report in 2016,  declined from 31 per cent in 2001 to 24 per cent in 2011. However, it rose up again by to 25 per cent in 2016.

Consequently, Uganda as a country is still feeling the pinch since the vice comes with numerous negative effects; school dropout being one of them.

Now, new report findings by Twaweza released on Thursday reveal that majority Ugandans want girls who get pregnant during school to continue with their education – whether after giving birth, during pregnancy or in another school.

The research brief titled ‘Preparing the Next Generation’: Ugandans’ opinions and experiences on education, is based on data from Sauti za Wananchi.

Sauti za Wananchi is Africa’s first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey.

The findings are based on data collected from 1,878 respondents across Uganda in September and October 2018.

“Almost all citizens (94 per cent ) want girls who get pregnant to continue with their education whether after giving birth (74 per cent), during pregnancy (13 per cent), or in another school (7 per cent),” the report states.

Nevertheless, the report imparts that the desire to have pregnant girls in school may be far reached considering the fact that 51 per cent of girls who get pregnant opt to become housewives whereas 14 per cent  become unemployed after dropping out of school.

Only 12 per cent go back to school.

When it comes to male students who impregnate their female counterparts, the findings show that 50 per cent of respondents want them to continue with their education and the remaining 50 per cent want them punished either by transferring them to another school, expelled or be imprisoned.

On the other hand, the report further states that 46 per cent of Ugandan parents do not speak to anyone about problems they identify at their children’s schools and in case they do, they tend to speak to only school leaders rather than people in government.

Responding to the survey, Dr. Mukasa Lusambu, the Acting Commissioner Basic Education Ministry of Education and sports said, guidelines for school management and plans to revive Parent-Teacher associations are under review.

Speaking at the same event, Dr. Mary Goretti Nakabugo, the Country lead Twaweza and Uwezo manager said schools need to open up spaces for engagement because children of engaged parents perform better.

Adding, “We need to create safe spaces for children in schools, homes and communities to tackle wastage. Also empower girl children to acquire skills to stay safe and healthy.”