President Museveni addresses education on campaign trail

November 17, 2015 OPINION/NEWS


Gloria Nakiyimba

Presidential candidate for Uganda’s ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM party Yoweri Kagutta Museveni is traversing the northern region conversing for votes.

Museveni told thousands of his supporters at Akura Secondary School in the Alebtong district on his third day on the campaign trail in the Lango Sub-Region, that during his next term in office, his government will provide free sanitary pads to the girls in schools.

He noted that some girls drop out of schools when they start their menstruation period because they lack sanitary towels to use during the three day episode. He says availing free sanitary pads will address this problem.

“The girls also have special problems. When the girls are in monthly periods they get special problems, therefore the government, in order to assist the girl child, we shall be buying and providing these sanitary pads” he averred.

But the president was silent on the construction of special changing rooms in the schools that the girls can use during their menses in a bid to improve menstrual hygiene management. Many girls change pads in pit latrines which expose them to bacterial infections.

A study on menstrual management in Uganda conducted by The Netherlands Development Organization SNV and IRC in 2012, whose findings were made public in 2013, indicated that more than 60% of the girl pupils absent themselves from school for 1-3 days every month due to menstruation, translated into a loss of 8 to 24 school days per year.

The study conducted in seven districts also revealed that there were inadequate menstrual facilities around schools.

Currently girl pupils, especially in rural areas, use pieces of old cloth, tissue paper and other unhygienic materials to cope with menstrual hygiene management.

“Many of the girls who took part in the survey preferred to stay at home during their period. If not addressed properly menstrual hygiene management will not only lead to more girls missing school, but can potentially cause an increase in the number of girls dropping out of school altogether” read part of the finding in the report.

The president also pledged to make education a priority, adding that he will re introduce the government’s role of providing free scholastic materials to school children under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme.

“When we started UPE, we wanted to share jobs where your parents would provide uniforms, exercise books and packed lunches so that the government would pay teachers, and build teachers’ houses and school facilities,” he said.

Museveni noted that the failure of parents to fulfill their roles in the education equation for their children, has contributed to too many children dropping out of school.

According to the latest report of the state of the Ugandan child (September 2015) 70% of pupils who start Primary One do not complete the cycle to Primary Seven, with both girls and boys experiencing low survival rates at primary school level.

On income generation the president noted they had plans to increase funds for the provision of planting and growing materials for the people to boost their household income.

The president urged Ugandans to adopt a discipline of planning how to do things step by step and not to be tempted to scatter resources as this would lead to failure.

Mr Museveni is seeking his fifth mandate to the number one leadership position in the land. Seven other people are in the race for the presidency. Ugandans will go the polls in February 2016 to choose their next president.







Gloria Nakiyimba

Gloria has experience spanning more than five years in Journalism, particularly in field reporting, editing, newscasting and management. She is currently working with Capital Radio Limited [91.3 Capital FM and 96.8 Beat FM] as Head of News, a position she has held since 2010.

Gloria previously worked as the Kampala Correspondent for Radio France International [RFI] generating local story leads with international inference for RFI’s global audience. She also served as Political Editor for The Weekly Mail Newspaper as well as Online Content Editor for the California based Ugandan broadcaster


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