Bishop Attacked for Blocking Pregnant & Breast Feeding Girls from Going Back to School

Mukono Diocese Bishop, James Ssebagala directed teachers in the Church of Uganda founded schools to block pregnant or breastfeeding girls from turning up to school.

He said that “All headteachers, I want to tell you that we shall not allow pregnant or breastfeeding girls in class. When all girls turn up, carry out the usual medical examination so that those found pregnant can go back and give birth they will come back after giving birth.”
Bishop James Ssebagala prays for children. Photo Credit: CHARLES JJUUKO
“Imagine someone saying even breastfeeding ones should be allowed to attend class. No, this we shall not accept because our schools were started purposely not only to impart knowledge but also discipline in children. How can a teacher be teaching when a girl is giving breasts to her child?” the Bishop added.Leaders, Parents, and SRHR Activists went ahead and reacted to the Bishop’s statement, CEHURD Uganda voiced out the concern through a tweet thread that had so much feedback from different parents and activists on the 10th of January, 2022. They said,
We reprove Bishop James Sebagala’s inconsiderate, unthought, and uncalled-for sentiments in today’s Daily Monitor All girls have a right to education regardless of their pregnancy, marital, or motherhood status. Education is a right that can not be withdrawn as a punishment.This should not water down our efforts & commitments to ensure that we #LeaveNoGirlBehind in education. The Ministry of Education and Sports has issued revised guidelines for the prevention and management of teenage pregnancy in school settings that allow for the readmission of pregnant girls.We have been faced with a pandemic that everyone had not prepared for. Let’s not assume that every sexual activity was consensual in this unprecedented period. A lot of early pregnancies are attributed to abuse and forced sex or rape.Leaving no girl behind means that we should recommit to their inclusive SDGs and human rights obligations toward all children, and ensure they adopt human rights compliant policies at all levels to protect pregnant & adolescent mothers’ right to education.
This thread had many people react and below are some of the reactions;Denying child mothers access to education is discrimination! These innocent girls have been defiled by their fathers, close relatives, and peers!! It’s our responsibility to deal with the perpetrators of defilement instead of denying girls their rights. Make the right choice. – @Angelanakafeer2The discussion should be centered on how to help these little girls through their predicament. Sounding the moral trumpet is to demonize rather than assist. What a convenient path to take! – @arorwadanMore reason for religious leaders to appreciate comprehensive sexuality education by supporting the ministry of education and civil society organizations efforts in ensuring the National Sexuality Education framework is brought to life. We can’t keep sacrificing the girl child! – @AmuronRuthDoes he have daughters What would happen in the event that his daughters were in the same category, would he still speak the same????? Let’s advocate for Second-chance Education for every girl out there! – @achayo_florenceReacting to the Bishop’s remarks, the State Minister for Higher Education, J.C Muyingo, said it is a government directive that all children should go back to school whether pregnant or breastfeeding.
“It seems my friend the bishop doesn’t know the position of government. I will go to his office and talk to him. I know he will understand my explanation and change his position,” he added.
Now that we have the backup of the government, let no girl be left behind. Girls empowered by education are powerful agents of change, positively impacting their own lives & the lives of their family, community, society & the world!