Traditional leaders should have a positive attitude and be champions in fostering the education of the girl child even after they have given birth whilst still in school.
The call was made by the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, in a speech to traditional leaders drawn from the African continent, who are at Speke Resort Munyonyo to discuss the retention of girls in schools.
She requested the leaders to drop unsustainable practices that tend to overlook the need to keep African girls in school and also ensure that girls have adequate accommodation facilities.
“The thinking of the planners in education is that there will be few girls in the system; that is why you find several hostels constructed for boys with few or even none for girls,” said Kadaga.
She also expressed concern over statements attributed to Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli, who was quoted to have said that pregnant girls should be barred from returning to school.
This attitude, said Kadaga, is what the traditional leaders should take into account during their deliberations.
The conference is organised by the African Union International Centre for Girls’ and Women’s Education in Africa (AU-CIEFFA), a specialised African Union body dedicated to the education of girls.
Uganda was praised for her efforts in ensuring gender parity.
“Uganda has successfully mainstreamed gender into its education system especially for refugees,” says Dr Rita Bissoonauth, the coordinator of the girls’ centre based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Dr Bissooonauth said Africa’s journey to gender equity in education is still a far cry, despite noticeable inroads.
“In Africa, we know that education still has a long way to go despite the progress in our education system; so many of our girls are left out and will never come to full personal and educational accomplishment if we do not address the issues,” she said.
Resolutions of the conference will be forwarded to the African Union for action by the Heads of State and consequently, their governments.