Why school homework caused outrage among parents

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Ethics minister Simon Lokodo revealed that his ministry had similar ongoing operations around the country to check on what kind of literature the children were studying.

Parents are enraged after it emerged that a nursery school in Wakiso district is giving children inappropriate study material.

Little Royals Kindergarten and Day Care Centre in Seguku is accused of printing classwork, which is “not suitable” to the average three to five-year-old children in its care.

One of the classwork scripts seen by Saturday Vision was set on July 17 for the children in Top Class. Under the title “A Good Boy,” the classwork had a little composition, which read: “Ken is a good boy. He lives with two men. They all sleep on one bed. He is the best boy at home.”

The classwork, which had been by press time leaked to social media, has caused an uproar among parents who worry that schools could be a haven for homosexuality. “See the classwork given to a five-year-old! What values are they instilling in our children after paying sh600,000 in tuition?” one parent posted on social media with a screen shot of the exercise.

“This is pathetic! This is not an innocent classwork. How safe are our children,” another parent responded.

Stephen Langa, the executive director of Family Life Network, said this is a wakeup call to parents to take extra effort and supervise their children’s classwork despite their busy schedules.

“You are the chief custodian of your child. There are people with negative motives that are targeting schools and teachers. You cannot trust anyone with your child to do the parenting. You have to get more involved in your children’s lives and schoolwork. Do due diligence, no matter how busy you are,” Langa warned.

The ethics and integrity minister, Fr Simon Lokodo, said he had received similar concerns from sections of parents over the manner in which the school sets its test questions, and vowed to make a follow-up.

“I have reliably learnt that there is a school, which sets questions that seek to make innocent children appreciate and admire homosexuality. I am following this up.  If this school continues, we will take action,” Lokodo said.

However, the school head teacher, Mackline Kyohairwe, denied any wrongdoing. “There was no intention of doing harm whatsoever. The teachers we hire are professional. In this case, the teacher only wanted to highlight the use of vowels and sounds that the children had learnt earlier while in class,” she told Saturday Vision on phone.

Kyohairwe, however, pledged to do better. “Owing to the fact that questions can be misinterpreted, we will sit down with our teachers and ask them to double-check before setting the questions,” she said.

Some sources in the school revealed that the teacher could have sourced the classwork from a textbook.

When contacted, the proprietor of the school, Rehema Kyampaire, said she was not aware of any such development, but said it could be the work of her competitors at play. In 2016, Greenhill Academy, a private primary school in Buwaate near Kira municipality in Wakiso, was under fire following the discovery of unsuitable literature in their library. The school issued a formal apology to parents.

Lokodo revealed that his ministry had similar ongoing operations around the country to check on what kind of literature the children were studying.

In 2013, Uganda’s Parliament passed the AntiHomosexuality Act, which provided for life imprisonment for gay sex, aggravated homosexuality, including with minors or while HIV-positive, and seven years’ jail time or a $40,700 (about sh151m) fine for promotion of the vice.

President Yoweri Museveni assented to it in February 2014, amid protests from the country’s development partners. However, a few months after the controversial law came into force, the Constitutional Court annulled it on grounds that Parliament lacked quorum at the time the Bill was passed.

Sexuality education has been a controversial issue in Uganda over the years, with critics arguing that classes could turn into a tell-it-all discussion and thus compromise the young minds.

On the other hand, enthusiasts counter that a generation of children is growing up on the sordid sexual details on the Internet and thus calls for the need to face the reality and guide the learners accordingly.

In 2016, the Government banned the teaching of sexuality education, until the appropriate syllabi content and material is ready. In May this year, the Government released a policy, The National Sexuality Education Framework, that seeks to guide, promote and facilitate the development and delivery of sexuality education programmes in the educational system of Uganda.

The education minister, Janet Museveni, said they rejected Comprehensive Sexuality Education concept, which targeted schools as recruitment grounds for homosexuality and said it undermined the country’s values.

She said sexuality education under the framework shall only work within the country’s values and moral standards to equip young people with the life skills to succeed in their education, hence becoming responsible family men and women.

NewVision.co.ug

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