A high rate of early pregnancies among girls in Twelve-Year-Basic Education (12YBE) has been attributed to the lack of teachers specifically in charge of students’ discipline in schools.
Educationists say that the rate of unwanted pregnancies in 12YBE is higher than in boarding schools where discipline masters are employed to check on students’ behaviour.
According to the head teacher of GS Mutara in Rulindo District, Claver Rubumbira, it was important to have teachers in charge of discipline.
“I am a witness of the value of having discipline masters because my school used to have pregnancy cases before we designated two teachers to deal with discipline issues,” he said.
Rubumbira says that his school didn’t record a single case of pregnancy this year because the new staff in charge of discipline worked hard to follow up on students’ behaviour.
“Two teachers, a male and a female, in charge of discipline teach a few hours and leave the remaining work to other teachers who are compelled to teach extra hours. That’s how we were able to get teachers in charge of discipline,” Rubumbira said.
Rubumbira urged the Ministry of Education to recruit at least a female in charge of girls discipline because girls are the most exposed to temptations.
Patrick Munyurangabo, headmaster of GS Rubona in Gatsibo District, also expressed the need for teachers in charge of discipline.
He said it was not easy for only two people, him and his deputy in charge of studies, to handle discipline cases of over a thousand students in addition to other daily duties.
Munyurangabo blamed some parents for not carrying out their responsibilities to follow up on the education of their children.
“Students move from home to school every day, but some may not reach school and parents do not check with us to know whether a student reached school or not. They sometimes pretend to be sick and ask for permissions to go home. I can not exactly know whether they are right or if they are lying, but if there was a woman in charge of discipline, she would closely look into those matters,” Munyurangabo said.
Officials at the Ministry of Education say that recruitment of teachers in charge of discipline at 12YBE schools was likely to take place in the next fiscal year.
Speaking to a parliamentary standing committee on education last month, the State Minister in charge of primary and secondary education, Olivier Rwamukwaya, said the ministry was working hard to handle problems which impede the education sector.
He said that the problems to be solved include unqualified teachers in secondary schools, parents who are unable to contribute to the school feeding programme, and recruiting educators in charge of discipline in 12YBE schools during the fiscal year 2015-2016.