It is unfortunate that more than 300 children have missed their Primary Living Examinations, due to early marriages and pregnancies.
Data from a survey conducted by United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF), indicates that 100 children from Kasese, 127 from Bugiri, and 67 from Katakwi districts have missed sitting for their 2014 primary leaving examinations (PLE) that kicked off on Monday. Majority of the pupils are girls who had earlier registered to sit for the examinations but failed to turn up for the exams.
It is sad because most of the victims are young girls who do not know how to make effective decisions on their own and cannot sustain their new families. Yet, the risks of early marriages and pregnancy contribute greatly to the poor economy of the country.
This is not unique to these districts, especially Kasese, as cases of early marriages are a common incident in the region, and have continued to happen.
However, should we sit back and lie in the comfort of our beds, as some selfish parents enjoy the dowry of a young and innocent child?
Parents, teachers, schools and the government should rekindle the light of sex education among young children in primary schools. A child should not miss her Primary Living Examinations and ruin her future, by getting married, or engaging in sex at such an early stage, while we sit and smile.
Schools should take a lead role in teaching their pupils the value of assertiveness, as a way to fight against such cases.
Surely, this disaster in Kasese, Bugiri and Katakwi should not have forced our children into this predicament. Not when government has trained has spread messages against early marriages and trained schools through its Presidential Initiative on AIDS Strategy for Communication to Youth (Uganda) program.