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Mixed schools blamed for high cases of teen pregnancies

23 June 2014, 14:31 Jane Zack

Busia - A Principal at a Butula School has decried the increasing number of unwanted pregnancies and procurement of abortion among female students at his school, calling upon the National Government to reduce the number of mixed secondary schools in the country in a bid to address the situation.

St Romano’s Tingolo mixed secondary school in Butula constituency of Busia County has this year had six female students drop out of school due to pregnancy related issues.

Blaming it on poor parenting, school Principal Justus Orambo in an interview with journalists revealed that one case involved a runaway private teacher whereas the other two cases are alleged to have involved a male subordinate staff.

Some of the pregnancies have been caused by the teachers at the school, while others are student to student.

“We suspect that one of our subordinate staff has been luring some female students into illicit affairs; we are yet to establish the truth although he decided to voluntarily leave the job after the ill allegations befell him,” Orambo said.

The Principal further stressed the need for sensitization on good morals among students and called upon the relevant authorities to take disciplinary measures on teachers who are involved in the vice.

“This is not the first time that this school has been affected by cases of unwanted pregnancies. In previous years, form four students were highly affected but this year we have had students from form one to four being affected at an alarming rate,” Orambo cited.

He also noted that discipline from parents is paramount and urged them to act as good role models in order to tame the vice.

Orambo said that he had reported the cases to the District Education Office in Butula and action is yet to be taken.

However, efforts to reach the Butula District Education Officer for a comment were futile as he was out of office on official matters.

This comes a few days after area Governor Sospeter Ojaamong marked the Day of the African Child in Busia town by launching a KES 40 million Child Protection Centre and the Child Information Management system, saying that the system will be protected by survey layers and that P3 forms once issued cannot be altered by the issuing department.

On her side, the Director of a Butula based child protection lobby Mary Makokha said that it is regrettable that 8 600 cases of defilement have so far been reported in Busia County with teachers being major perpetrators of the vice.

She said that in another case, the headteacher of a nearby primary school is still at large after he allegedly defiled a 14-year-old minor.

“I have however reported the matter to the County Director TSC Beatrice Lukalo to take action,” Makokha affirmed.

Makokha is the founder of Rural Education and Economic Enhancement Programme (REEP), an organisation that spearheads the fight against HIV and AIDs among other issues affecting the community.

“Early pregnancies among school-going children is a growing concern in Busia and especially in Butula constituency, that needs immediate solution,” Makokha said.

Meanwhile, human rights organisations and children's rights crusaders both nationally and internationally are expected to participate in a peaceful  street march on Monday in Busia to press for Justice for Liz, a 16-year-old girl who was gang-raped by six men, violently attacked and left for the dead in Tingolo, Butula mid last year.

The trial for the case is set for June 24, 2014 at the Busia Law courts.

The prosecution had filed an amended charge sheet charging all the six suspects with the offences of gang-rape and grievous harm and applied and obtained warrants of arrest for the five suspects who are still at large.

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