The Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) has directed all schools to allow pregnant girls sit their final examinations.
The UNEB Executive Secretary Dan Odongo made the directive while addressing reporters in Kampala on Thursday.
Due to the countrywide COVID-19 lockdown imposed by the Government in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, many girls in various parts of the country are reported to have been impregnated.
This prompted a huge section of the public and civil society organizations to call on government to reopen schools which were shut down in March 2020.
As such, Odongo on Thursday said UNEB recognized that the COVID-19 lockdown has been a tough period especially for a girl child which led to some of them getting pregnant and therefore ordered schools to allow pregnant girls sit for their final examinations.
“We have received reports that a number of girls became pregnant during this season. While we do not condone teenage pregnancy, we recognise that most of these girls are victims of circumstances, holding unintended pregnancies,” he said.
Odongo added that many of impregnated girls are traumatized and therefore denying them the opportunity to sit their final examinations would be double jeopardy.
This, he said will derail the gains girls and boys registering for their final examinations and finishing a given academic cycle.
“Therefore, as guided by the Ministry of Education and Sports, UNEB is calling on schools to register the pregnant girls to enable them sit for their final examinations,” he said.
REGISTRATION OF CANDIDATES FOR SCHOOLS THAT DID NOT MEET COVID-19 SOPs.
Odongo advised schools with UNEB centre numbers that may not have reopened due to failure to meet the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for COVID-19 to seek permission from UNEB to register their candidates in the nearby compliant schools.
After President Museveni allowed reopening of education institutions for only final year students, the Ministry of Education and Sports under the Directorate of Education Standards (DES) working with Local Governments conducted inspection of schools and provided SOPs to facilitate safe reopening.
However, only the schools that scored 60% implementation of SOPs were allowed to reopen while those that scored between 50% and 59% were given 1 week to put in place necessary requirements.
Those that scored below 50% were considered unready for reopening and the Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Alex Kakooza said that they would pose a great risk to the learners and staff.
Further, OAdongo said that if a school is to register candidates under a different centre number, they must seek permission of the District/ Municipal or city inspectors of schools, who should accordingly inform UNEB in writing.
“In case of PLE candidates, no school should register learners in a district different from the one where the school is located,” he added.