KAMPALA – The Ministry of Education and Sports and Save the Children has launched a back-to-school campaign.
The UGX. 1 billion campaign, mainly targeting disabled children and learners who were involved in business when schools closed, teenage mothers, and parents who are still hesitant to take children back to school will carry messages on the importance of education through the radio, social media, Televisions, and local community leaders.
State Minister of Primary Education Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaduccu says that the one-month campaign will ensure that the effects of the pandemic on the school-going children do not prevent future education and learning.
Edson Nsubuga, the Senior Education Advisor of Save the Children, says that for the start, the organization has invested over 200 Million Shillings in the campaign.
Nsubuga asked the government, parents, and leaders to encourage pregnant girls to return to school instead of condemning them.
He said the Back to School campaign aims at encouraging parents, guardians and caregivers to take all their children back to school following the reopening on January 10 that ended the close to two years of closure.
Various reports indicated an increase in child protection cases across the country during the close to two years of school closure.
Statistics from the National Child Helpline Sauti 116, indicate an increase in cases of violence against children during the various lockdowns. For example, from April to September 2020, cases of violence against children increased from 2400 to 5000 cases as reported by the National Child Help Line.
“The issue of first-time child mothers, too, has been widely reported. Over 100,000 teenage mothers are on the verge of never returning to school if no critical interventions are put in check to encourage them to do so. And boys and girls who began work to help contribute to their family income may also never return to school, “he added.
Bev Roberts Reite, the Director of Programme Development and Quality at Save the Children said that over 100,000 teenage mothers may not return to school if no interventions are put in place to encourage them.
“All children have the opportunity to go back to school today. If you are a child with a disability, you have the right and the opportunity, the school is there to support you. If you are a child who has been working, you can go back to school. If you are a young woman who has had a child, you have the right to go back to school today,” Roberts –Reite said.
Every child has the right to education and Uganda has pledged to uphold this through Articles 28 and 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Evidence shows that education and learning also lead to better improved development outcomes for countries, families, and future generations.