Parliament on Wednesday passed a motion to adopt the select committee inquiry report into allegations of sexual abuse in institutions of higher learning.
Early last year, parliament set up a select committee headed by Gomba West legislator Hon. Robina Rwakwoojo Gureme following complaints by students of sexual harassment by their lecturers.
According to committee findings, it was discovered that out of 259 university and tertiary institution students interviewed, 52 % reported that they had experienced a form of sexual abuse with 42% dissenting.
In institutions of higher learning particularly, 42 percent of the respondents indicated that male lecturers were the perpetrators while 38 percent reported male students.
The same report states that 34% out of a total 384 secondary school learners interviewed has suffered the same.
Collectively, this report keenly interrogated sexual abuse patterns from its various interfaces with 39 institutions of work which included government agencies, professional bodies, civil society organizations and individuals amongst many others.
The Committee visited 11 primary schools, eleven 11 secondary schools, 2 primary teachers’ colleges and 9 Universities.
Regarding the latter, it interfaced with the administrators, learners and district officials.
Speaking on the floor of parliament today, the minister of state for higher education Hon. John Chrysostom Muyingo vowed to take punitive action against perpetrators of such crimes.
Muyingo who also doubles as the legislator for Bamunanika County in Luweero district responded to claims that the ministry has been covering up sexual offenders by transferring them
“It is not a policy of my ministry to transfer the wrong doers or rapists or whatever. Where it has happened that some wrong doer has been transferred, it is either we have not got the right information or something has gone wrong. So I am appealing to all of you colleagues, that where these cases have happened become our ears and eyes and let us know”, he implores.
The minister promised to scale up measures to arrest this vice including change of policy if necessary.
“Where it means taking disciplinary action on wrong doers pointed out in that report, disciplinary measures will be administered in accordance to the laws of this country. Whether it requires change of policy, we are going to make the necessary adjustments. Even if it means amending the existing law at all levels, we want our children in our institutions protected”, he adds further.
On her part, Hon. Betty Aol Ochan the leader of opposition and a teacher by profession called for a concerted effort in bringing this ‘vicious cycle’ to an end.
Hon. Robina Rwakwoojo Gureme the committee chairperson applauded her fellow legislators for agreeably adopting the findings but called for heightened conscience amongst members of society in order to end this dehumanizing act.