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Early Pregnancies, Violence, Poverty Claim 480 PLE Candidates Out of School.

Written by on February 15, 2021

More than 480 registered Primary Leaving Examination-PLE candidates in Katakwi District have dropped out of school. According to information from the office of Katawki Chief Administrative Officer, those who dropped out include 308 boys and 110 girls.

Alia Seraphine, the Katakwi CAO, says that the female candidates might have dropped out of school due to early marriages and pregnancies. He disclosed this during a visit by officials from the Teso Affairs Ministry in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Seraphine appealed to the Teso Affairs Ministry to extend support to projects such as tailoring and other technical courses to support more school dropouts.

Moses Ekunyu, the headteacher, Apuuton Primary School, said that although they previously had 204 primary seven pupils, only 138 registered for PLE including expectant girls but eight have not reported to school to date.

Stella Akwii, a mother at Acoite Village in Palam Sub County said poverty has lured many pupils into early pregnancies.  A senior-two student of Priscilla Secondary school, Marion

Akiteng, said some of them got married due to domestic violence, which became rampant during the COVID-19 lockdown.

John Stephen Ekoom, the Katakwi Resident District Commissioner, says the district security committee meeting resolved to conduct operations where they arrested ten suspected perpetrators of early marriages during the lockdown.

He also noted that during their operations, they discovered that parents involved in marrying off young girls had changed strategies to avoid arrest. According to the RDC, the parents and in-laws pretend as if they are negotiating for the sale of animals in cattle markets especially Ocorimongin, yet are exchanging bride price.

In March last year, the Government closed all learning Institutions in the country to stop the spread of COVID-19.  However, the Government reopened candidate classes in October 2020. In Katakwi 2,801, Primary seven pupils registered to sit for PLE this year.

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