By Okello Jaspher

OYAM-The rising drop-out rate of girls from schools is worrying residents of a sub-county in Oyam district. The residents of Acaba Sub County have pronounced their concerns over continued drop outs at the primary school level in the area.

Girl-pupils of a primary school in Oyam display locally-made sanitary pads (Credit: Daily Monitor)

Fiona Winnie Acut a community member says most parents are less concerned about education especially of the girl-child. “You find girls experiencing menstruation not given pads yet their fathers do not miss drinking alcohol and contribute daily at their drinking joints. The mothers on the other hand only buy foodstuff, leaving the girls very vulnerable. They eventually drop out of school. Because they are ignorant of the outcome of menstruation, they get pregnant”, expressed Acut.

Nelson Olem, the parish development committee chairperson, Anyeke parish says this has led to early marriage. “The problem we are facing in this area is that school dropout is high. Parents send children to school and fail to make follow up at schools to settle necessary payments. This has forced some children to be married off unlawfully within the community” Olem confirmed.

Robert Odoch, the Community Development Officer of the sub county appealed to parents to always play their parenting roles. “Concerning education, you cannot marry someone, bear a child then leave the child minus education. A person who is educated is easy to handle but the one who is not is very hard. The person behaves like a bull which has rejected ox plough. There may be some weaknesses in our homes but let’s turn it into opportunities” said Odoch. The sub county authorities have pledged to strengthen the by-laws in order to end the vice.

Students of Iceme Girls’ SS, the best school in Oyam district (Credit: blogspot.com)

In 2015, the Ministry of Education issued a guideline on menstrual hygiene management in schools. All schools are by the guidelines required to construct water tanks and changing rooms as part of the government efforts to ensure proper good menstrual hygiene management at schools. The menstrual hygiene guidelines issues by Education Ministry also require schools to provide wrappers, sanitary towels as well as pain killer for girls who may need them during school hours. As the statement rightly pointed out, menstrual management is a key issue that affects the retention and performance of girls in schools.  (Source: Daily Monitor, March 21, 2018)