KOBOKO. The various education stakeholders in Koboko district have blamed the increasing cases of school drop-out on lack of reproductive health education in schools.

The vice that has affected both girls and boys is said to be on the rise because the majority of children get messages concerning productive health education through their peers who in most cases, mislead them to do wrong things.

“Parents are not doing enough. They fear to talk freely to their children about sex education. Children instead get misinformed from peers, something that drives their attention away from remaining in school,” the Koboko district female youth councillor, Ms Fatima Fikra Zulaika said in a telephone interview on Friday.

She added that many parents have a negative attitude towards sending and maintaining their children in school because they compare situations with successful illiterate businessmen that they think they can have a good life without education.

Ms Lydia Cero, the project officer of voices for health project said the government of Uganda should consider legalizing school health policy so that the fight against teenage pregnancy and early marriages can reduce as the policy will compel children to remain in school.

Ms Cero noted that due to the lack of school health policy, many young people have been deprived of sexual education since parents do not bother to talk to them about the matter.

Ms Lydia 05 10 19Ms Lydia Cero speaking to West Nile Web during an interview

She noted that parents are supposed to be the primary stakeholders in the education of their children while government and civil society organizations (CSOs) play supplementary roles.

Cero said by legalizing the school health policy, the young people will make choices in the education process, one thing that can reduce teenage pregnancies, early marriages and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

“Parents are now saying that children have defeated them yet it is because of this poor attitude that many young people are dropping out of school especially in rural areas,” she said.

She stressed that many parents do not provide basic needs to their girls, an act that forces them to seek them from strangers who end up luring them in to sex thus impregnating or infecting the girls with HIV on top of dropping out of school.

“The concern is that from P1 to P4, the number of children is very high but when it reaches P5 to P7, the number drastically reduces. The drop-out rate is still very high due to teenage pregnancies and early marriages here in Koboko,” the Koboko district probation officer, Ms Zumurat Vujeru said.

She observed that many cases of girl-child school drop-out are a result of sexual violence which parents report to the police as the last option mainly after the two parties have disagreed on payment of bride price.

She blamed parents for not giving time to their children to talk about reproductive health hence exposing them to risks of teenage pregnancy.

Earlier this year, the acting Koboko district education officer, Mr Wayi Dragamulai disclosed that the dropout rate is reducing although the completion rate in primary schools continues to be the main challenge.

He said of 100 learners who enrolled in primary education in 2012, only 14 were able to complete P7 in 2018.

Dragamulai also stated that by the start of 2019 first term, the drop-out rate reduced to 3.5 per cent from 4.9 per cent in 2018 up from 8.1 per cent in the 2017.