By Denis Edema
Teenage school-going mothers, who were impregnated before and during the Covid-induced lockdowns but managed to write their Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations have discouraged girls from engaging in relationships while still at school.
At least 24 teenage mothers enrolled to continue with their studies at New Hope Senior Secondary School, Buwagi Village, Jinja North Division, Jinja City following a directive from the Ministry of Education and Sports, allowing pregnant students to study and sit for final national examinations.
But after performing dismally in the recently-released Senior Four results, they have discouraged girls from engaging in relationships with men or boys, urging them to focus on their studies.
Out of the seven who sat for UCE at the school, one got a first grade while the rest obtained divisions three and four.
Ms. Jazirah Nesonze, 17, who scored aggregate 49 said because of what befell her, she has learnt “many lessons” and endured stigma from the community.
Ms. Nesonze, who is currently teaching in one of the nursery schools added that she wishes to continue with her studies in ‘A’ Level, but lacks money.
Ms. Esther Kwagala, 21, who obtained Division 4, said her results are not good and is already thinking about doing vocational training in hairdressing although it requires money.
“I appeal to girls who have access to education not to abuse that privilege by engaging in relationships because they will disorganise their future.
Ms Mebrone Mutekanga, a teacher of English, who conceived the idea of enrolling such stigmatised girls in school, said: “I understand the challenges that made some of the girls pregnant.”
She added: “I decided to enroll only dropout teenage mothers at school because I had an experience where I was called for an interview in one of the ministries and was asked for sex in exchange for a payroll job.”
She said it was after she refused to yield to the bizarre request that it dawned on her that some people secure well-paying jobs through doing inhuman things, and bribery among others.
She, however, explained that she is not promoting teenage pregnancies in schools or communities but believes they should be given another chance because it was not their fault.