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Pregnant girls allowed to sit national examinations

13 October 2014, 16:37 Godfrey Olukya

Kampala - As Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) examinations for ordinary level (senior four) started today, authorities  instructed schools' administrations in the whole country to allow pregnant female candidates to sit for their papers.

However, some who feared to be scorned by fellow students chose to stay at home.

In the past, it has been a taboo for pregnant candidates to sit examinations. Most headteachers had a brief that the best they could do to a pregnant female student was to send her home as mixing with other students would teach them bad manners.

Uganda's minister of state for higher education, Chrysostom Muyingo has said such treatment of pregnant female students should stop immediately and that they should be allowed to sit for the examinations.

Muyingo said, ''It is true that it is not good for a female students to get pregnant while at school. But if such an unfortunate incident occurs, the students should be fairly treated. By denying her chance to sit the examinations, you are not only sabotaging the student but also undermining the nation.''

Although most parents have welcomed the directive, some headteachers still believe that such girls should not be allowed back to schools.

Emilly Emurot, headteacher of Nabuswa Secondary School said, ''By allowing such girls to come back to school and sit examinations, we are opening up for other girls to follow the same route. I am totally against the idea.''

A parent, Ketty Namakula said, ''I welcome the minister's directive because some of our daughters are raped by men and get pregnant. Others are innocent but are induced into sex by teachers and other uncouth men. Denying them chance to sit the examinations would be very unfair."

310 000 candidates on Monday sat for O level examinations. It is estimated that over 400 female candidates could be pregnant.

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