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Janet warns contractors off schoolgirls

In 2015, the World Bank cancelled its $265m (about Shs 954bn) funding for construction of a major road after allegations made rounds that contractors were sexually targeting schoolgirls.

Many of the girls were left pregnant and neglected. Two years later, the tragedy formed focal talking points as the education minister, Janet Museveni, officiated at the national launch of 84 school sites that are set to be turned into modern schools in 26 districts.

Speaking at Lutaba Chance primary school in Wakiso last week, Ms Museveni told contractors to strictly adhere to environment and social safeguards since there is need to avoid what happened in 2015.

Education minister Janet Museveni (R) being shown the proposed plan of the school blocks yet to be constructed 

“We do not expect the workers on site to play around with our children especially the schoolgirls,” Ms Museveni said.

“We do not expect them to also misuse the available sources of water, cutting and replacing available trees, among others.”

Her caution came after several speakers had warned both the contractors and parents in attendance that if schoolgirls misbehave with construction workers, the area could miss out on the education project.

The launch held in Wakiso was just one of the 84 sites where the Global Partnership for Education (GPE)-funded Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP) will support the construction of schools in the districts of Wakiso, Kween, Soroti, Bududa and Sironko, among others.

Ms Museveni noted that when she was appointed minister in June last year, World Bank was almost recalling the grant that had been effected in 2015.

She said the construction of new schools that is expected to end in one year will improve the image of government schools that are often labeled as lacking by the media.

Janet Museveni breaking the ground for the construction of the schools last week

“This is a very important development because there has been an outcry in the country of schools that are below standard,” she said, adding that the ministry will be keen on the quality of works with daily supervision at each site.

Meanwhile, the World Bank project has also benefited the education sector with training of about 10,171 teachers in Early Grade Reading methodology for primary grades one to three.

Over six million textbooks have also been distributed to 14,854 government primary schools across the country. This, according to the project plan, is expected to improve the pupil-book ratio to 3:1 and 4:1 for literacy and numeracy respectively.

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© 2016 Observer Media Ltd