The Amuru District Woman MP, Lucy Akello has raised a red flag over the nature of content contained in some science subject textbooks meant for primary pupils, warning that syllabuses promoting abortion and the use of contraceptives are not only illegal but also a threat to the country’s moral fabric and the future of children.
She revealed that whereas the country’s law books prohibit aspects of reproductive health such as abortion, she learnt with shock that in some schools, reproductive health is introduced with aspects that might be detrimental to the children’s moral aptitude.
Akello raised alarm on the nature of science subjects being introduced to primary six pupils aged 10 and 11 in schools during a plenary session chaired by Deputy Speaker, Anita Among this afternoon.
She said whereas reproductive health is an important subject matter, topics on contraceptives, tubal ligation and abortion are not supposed to be taught to pupils at such a tender age and the situation should be arrested before it spirals out of control.
“I came across a past paper of one of the children and the question was; what is the role of Reproductive Health Uganda in Uganda? And the answer this little girl gave if I may quote is – If need be, to legalize abortion,” Akello said to an awed audience.
Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) is a non-governmental organization in Uganda with a long-standing record of providing quality reproductive health services that include safe motherhood, family planning, HIV/AIDS, adolescent interventions and advocacy in Uganda.
Referring to a textbook: Integrated Science Longhorn Pupils’ book Six, Akello said she was very worried that children are learning what they are not supposed to and yet the Constitution speaks against the termination of life of an unborn child except as may be authorized by law.
Abortion in Uganda is illegal unless performed by a licensed medical doctor in a situation where the woman’s life is deemed to be at risk.
With schools set to open in January 2022, she asked that the Ministry of Education and Sports immediately withdraws the textbook and contentious topics from the curriculum.
The State Minister for Education, Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu informed the plenary that the curriculum the Ministry knows and was implementing prior to the COVID19 pandemic was the approved curriculum.
She added that during the Covid19 lockdown period, they had embarked on reviewing the curriculum to accommodate the time that the children had lost but that the new curriculum was yet to be implemented as it was still in process of development.
Moriku stressed that for any textbook or reading material to be utilized or approved to be used in schools; it must undergo a vetting process and be approved by the National Curriculum Development Centre including carrying their logo.
“In the event that someone comes and writes a textbook that has not been approved, we will look at that textbook and immediately withdraw it but as far as I know the textbooks that are subjected to our children have to undergo a vigorous process of approval,” said Moriku.
She also reiterated that the issue of abortion is illegal as per the Constitution and that the issue of contraceptives should not be discussed especially in schools.
She notified the House that in 2018, with regard to the issue of abortion the Ministry of Education and Sports had not approved the policy and that anyone going against the Ministry using items that have not been approved should be denounced.
Among then tasked the Minister to look at the said textbook and ascertain whether or not it went through any approval process and report back to the House. She added that if possible the textbook should be withdrawn from the curriculum because it is not recommended for the pupils.