The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni has reminded the young people that it is not enough for them to be brilliant at Mathematics, Physics or History if they are not responsible enough to lead a healthy, moral and ethical life.
Mrs Museveni said that the main objective of our secondary education is to equip young people with critical life skills and competences of problem solving through critical thinking, creativity and decision making meant to prepare them for higher studies and the work place. She noted that the target is to lay a strong formative values-based foundation for a productive life as an adult and a citizen of our motherland. “You will not be an asset to your motherland and your community if you end up contracting avoidable diseases or getting pregnant while at school through a reckless lifestyle. Your country needs you alive, healthy, disciplined and responsible”, she warned theMrs Janet Museveni was on Saturday 13th April 2019 addressing Secondary Schools Student leaders from the Central region during the closure of the inaugural Summit of Life Skills at Kololo Independence Grounds. The 2- days Summit was held under the theme: “My life, my responsibility”, and it attracted 2,364 students representing 52 schools.
The summit, designed by the Ministry of Education and Sports in partnership with the Office of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) Uganda, is intended to catalyse and galvanise the struggle against the negative influences on the young people, especially those in schools and the intervention will soon be rolled out to other regions in the country.
Mrs. Museveni said that Government is aware of the challenges faced by the young people, especially at the very delicate stage of adolescence when they undergo radical physiological, psychological and emotional changes as they transit from childhood to adulthood. She added that it is at this stage that the young people experience immense peer pressure, temptations and all kinds of social influences, which if not managed well, can derail their lives and destroy their dreams and entire future.
She observed that the adolescents are growing up in a very challenging environment because of the negative forces and influences. She cited, among others, the global agenda that promotes permissiveness under the disguise of protecting human rights and personal freedoms, cultural norms and values that, in many instances, offend our own, mass media programmes, internet and social media which directly and indirectly promote a lot of unethical and immoral beliefs, attitudes and practices. She pointed out that these negative forces are also attacking our values targeting the family and the youth with the promotion of rights without responsibility and restraint, sexual revolution, homosexuality, abortion, masturbation, pornography, drug abuse, individualism as opposed to communal existence and many more.
“Without any doubt, we are already seeing regrettable consequences of these negative influences on our youth. The infections rates of HIV and other STIs are persistently high among young people in spite of the many Government awareness programmes. Teenage and unintended pregnancies are all too common because of casual sexual behaviour. These are compounded by the rising scourge of alcohol and drug abuse among the youth. The effects of these on education are being seen in terms of low learning achievements, and high school dropouts, especially among the girls”, she said and added that this Summit is primarily intended to address these kinds of challenges
She told the gathering that Government has enhanced its response to empower the youth with information and life skills through the formulation of the National Sexuality Education Framework, which was launched last year. This Framework aims to provide a basis for continuous engagement with young people in schools in order to equip them with accurate and morally acceptable information, knowledge and skills to successfully navigate through life and become responsible adults.
She explained that this intervention is founded on our core values that include religious, cultural and national ethical values. It is also anchored on the principles of: Fear of God; Importance of parents in child upbringing and Centrality of the Family as a core social unit, Age-appropriateness of the messages and knowledge, and emphasis on risk avoidance through positive behaviour change.
“I know that you have been taken through life changing sessions of information sharing, knowledge acquisition and life skills development since yesterday and I am confident that at the end of this Summit, you will all be in a better position to set and successfully pursue important life goals with focus and discipline. As leaders, you already have a platform within your schools to speak to your fellow students. We therefore, believe that when we equip you with life skills you are in an even better position to pass these on to others and in so doing, we will be able to create a critical mass of young people who are empowered to make informed choices for personal and societal benefit. I am equally sure that this experience will be the beginning of your renewed commitment to succeed in life and become productive and responsible citizens”, the First Lady told the youngsters.
She advised them to abstain from pre-marital sex and appealed to them be God fearing, decent, moral, respectful, disciplined, diligent and patriotic.
“Abstain from sex before marriage! It is cool to be a virgin till marriage for both girls and boys! When you also put God first in your lives, embrace His Message and lead morally upright lifestyles, your success is guaranteed” she said.
Mrs Museveni reiterated her personal commitment and that of the education ministry to continue to positively guide the growth and development of the young people of Uganda.
An Education consultant, Annabel Bowerman said that it was important for the students to receive sexuality education skills. She observed that they have received a powerful message and that they return to their schools as educators and role models for fellow students.
One of the student leaders, Daniel Okwi said that they have benefited a lot particularly from the promotion of discipline. He reported that they have resolved to be men and women of integrity.
The student leaders recited their life skills creed. Among its objectives is to ensure upright morals and holistic education.
13th April, 2019