In a written response to a question by Special Seats MP, Martha Umbulla, the ministry of education, science and technology said the Education Act chapter 353 with its amendments of 2016 lists a number of punishments for anyone who will be found involved in such practices.
The ministry said; “anyone who will be found in any act that perpetuates such practices shall be subjected to a fine not less than 5m/- or a five years jail term or all of them together,” the ministry said quoting the Act.
In her basic question, the MP wanted to know the government’s plans to rescue girls from pastoralist communities whom she said were lacking the opportunity to continue with school because they are married at a tender age despite laws stating clearly on schooling opportunities that girls have.
In response, the ministry said an education circular of 2004 directs all children of school going age to be enrolled, registered, attend and complete their primary education as it is their fundamental right.
The ministry said apart from the laws it has also put in place various initiatives such as free education for primary and secondary education, establishment of learning centres, construction of girls hostels especially in pastoralists communities.
“The construction of hostels protects girls from walking long distances hence also being protected from pregnancies,” the ministry said.
The ministry said the government was also working with various stakeholders to educate the public and youths on the side effects of early pregnancies and the importance of creating mechanisms to protect them.
The programme involves provision of long-term impacts of early pregnancies to various groups.