The Minister of State for Education and Sports, Mr Denis Hamson Obua, has reprimanded parents for deliberately abandoning their roles to nurture and guide their children during the two-year lockdown.
According to Mr Obua, this has intensified school dropouts and defilement among learners.
He made these remarks while commissioning a Ugx2.5 million science laboratory block at the Ocer Campion Jesuit College in Gulu City, a project whose construction has taken a year.
The construction of the project was fully funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Thousands of young girls conceived during the Covid-19 induced lockdown, while others got married off prematurely under the watch of their parents who, according to Mr Obua, should have taken responsibility of taking care of them.
“The lockdown exposed a lot of social fabric in respect to the irresponsibility of family members and parents. Parents have neglected their parenthood roles and responsibilities and handed them over to strangers, who in this case are the teachers,” Mr Obua said.
“During the lockdown parents never took time to talk, mentor, and understand their children. This immensely led to the high rate of teenage pregnancy and early child marriages,” he added.
According to the Ministry of Health, at least 644,955 teenage pregnancies were recorded during the Covid-19-induced lockdown which lasted about two years. In Acholi Sub-region, a report by Comboni Samaritans of Gulu shows that more than 17, 000 young girls were impregnated during the lockdown.
Mr Obua went on to remark that parents play a primary role in the upbringing of their children, and not teachers.
“Education is a shared responsibility. Now that our children are coming back from school, we would want to call upon the parents because the first line of grooming our children rests with the parents not the teachers in schools,” he said.
“They have to come out clearly to guide, teach, and show these children the way, this full responsibility also comes alongside several other roles they have to maximally play,” Gulu Archbishop John Baptist Odama also noted.
Archbishop Odama went on to blame the current moral decay among learners on the unlimited exposure to the unlimited exposure to technology and misinterpretation of children’s rights by both the children and the parents.
Mr Obua also reechoed the commitment of the government to promoting sciences and scientists in the country, through the construction of seed schools across the country.
Currently, 117 seed secondary schools have been commissioned, and according to Obua, they all have fully equipped standard Science laboratories.