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Parliament to Investigate Sexual Harassment in Schools

Parliament has resolved to set up a select committee to investigate different forms of sexual harassment in schools and higher institutions of learning.

The decision was made after a debate on a motion tabled by the National Female Youth MP, Anna Adeke Ebaju, seeking a resolution of Parliament to inquire into allegations of sexual abuse in schools.

Adeke told the house that during the development of the National Strategic Plan on Violence Against children in Schools, it was established that violence against children in schools is widespread and children are subjected to different forms of violence.

“Sexual harassment especially among girls was on the high with 77.7% of the primary school children and 82% of the secondary school students experiencing sexual harassment while at school; 8% of the girls are subjected to defilement, 24% are spoken to in a sexual way, 18% receive marriage proposals and 25% are fondled/touched in a sexual manner while 29% are made to watch sexual scenes (pornography),” Adeke said.

Adeke’s motion comes after media reports of sexual abuse including one at Kibuli Secondary School involving the headmaster Ali Muggaga and another at Makerere University involving Dr. Swizen Kyomuhendo, a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration (SWASA).

Adeke asked Parliament to fast tract the Sexual Offences Bill, 2015 which seeks to serve the purpose of combating sexual violence and consolidating laws of sexual offences.

The Bill provides for punishment of perpetrators of sexual offenses, procedural and evidential requirements during trial of sexual offenses and other related matters.

Rosemary Seninde, State minister for Primary Education said the the Education ministry is aware of such sexual offenses and for the case of Kibuli Head teacher Muggaga, police is already doing its work.

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“Since this case of Kibuli raises both criminal and professional issues, police is investigating the matter, but Ministry of Education has also put up a committee to investigate the same and is already compiling a report so that we can handle this matter in a more comprehensive manner,” Seninde said.

Seninde was opposed to the MPs’ move to put up a select committee saying that her ministry has also constituted one to investigate the matter.

Despite Seninde’s concerns, the house resolved to set up a select committee which was tasked to work hand in hand with officials from the Ministry of Education.

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