The Gulu Woman Member of Parliament, Betty Ocan, has urged parents to be closer to their daughters so as to inspire them to excel in education, avoid early marriages and school dropouts. Ocan was giving mattresses and cash presents to pupils from Gulu District who excelled in their 2017 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), last Friday at her officer along Ring Road in Gulu Municipality.
She cited and acclaimed appreciated Wilfred Nyeko, the father of Catherine Acen, 12, the only girl from Layibi Green Primary School who got aggregate 7 in last year’s PLE exams for mentoring his girl to love education.
Acen attributes her good performance to her father. “My dad was very helpful in many ways when I was at school; and he still supports me in many areas of my growth. I want to become a civil engineer like him when I finish school. He has taught me to work hard to have the best in life,” Acen said.
Nyeko says he stays close to his daughters to help them in their adolescent growth. “I want to know my girl and be her friend so that I can teach her the character and morals in our family. When she goes to school, she can know what to do,” says Nyeko.
MP Ocan believes that if fathers played their role of being friends with their daughters, the high currently high school drop-out rate for girls will reduce. “I may not have been so close to my children but now, I advocate for parents, especially the fathers, to be close to the girl-child. Don’t become too busy; don’t brush them away when they come to you. Plan and have time to be with them; be their friends, provide and motivate them to be in school,” Acen urged the parents who attentively listened to her.
She added that the high rate of girl child school dropout is a result of lack of character development from home. “S.1 and S.2 classes disturb our adolescent girls. That is when most of them drop out of school. Let girls be close to you. Home is the first school for any child.”
She rebuked parents who abdicate their roles and take to drinking or leisure after work with colleagues. “You find them drinking marwa, (the local alcoholic drink), beer and returning home late; and being very rude to the girls. That creates a distance between you and the child. When will this girl know love and care, some will easily be deceived by their peers! When they become pregnant, that is when you start blaming them for knowing a man or boy at an early age of 13or thereabout,” Acen added.
She donated 23 mattresses valued at UGX 1,150,000/= to outstanding performers of the 2017 PLE result; and cash prizes of 50,000/= for scholastic requirements to each of the selected pupils from sub counties and divisions in the district.
The candidates in Gulu District who sat the PLE were presented 2,236 candidates, 901 being girls. Only 26 girls passed in Division One compared to 49 boys. According to Gulu district leaders, the performance was poor compared to the previous years.