We recently saw the opening of schools country-wide and later the fully-fledged unraveling of the Ugandan economy after the 2 year partial and full lockdowns. However, religious leaders in Uganda especially from the Catholic and Anglican sects came out and condemned the government for letting teenage mothers and pregnant girls go back to school in their state. Being a very tricky decision, we had an interview with a member of the Uganda National Student Association (UNSA) to give us a clear perspective from the students' perspective. Okori Brian is a National Treasurer at UNSA and here is one interesting chat we had. OKORI BRIAN - National Treasurer at UNSA Is it proper for religious leaders to condemn teenage mothers from returning to school? Religious leaders want pregnant girls barred from schools Religious leaders generally have a perception toward teenage mothers! I think after this long closure of schools we as citizens and stakeholders at large should be talking about how we can solve the current problems in the education sector other than creating more. I don't really think the religious leaders know the impact of having an illiterate Nation; they are basically speaking from a perspective of sin and righteousness. What is the solution for teenage mothers in Uganda after school resumption? UNSA is an umbrella body that looks after all post-primary students and it's unfortunate that there is a big number of teenage mothers from the pre-primary pupils as per the statistics and sadly, that's not under our mandate as UNSA. However, right now we as UNSA have put aside the talk of mandate and prioritized running a "Go Back To School Campaign" which will be running for a period of 6 months, and in this campaign we are putting our emphasis on seeing how the teenage mothers get back to school and even other students who dropped out of school because of other reasons other than teenage pregnancy. Pregnant girls face intimidation from society as immoral Will children perform well after the world record lockdown Uganda has experienced? The Ministry of education and sports has put up concerted measures to see that teachers effectively teach the students as well as trying to see how the calendar can normalize and the school cycle gets back to normal. Of course, you know that the students are currently not accustomed to being in class but I believe that after 2 months of being at school they should cop up and fully start submitting to their classes. However, the ministry also realized that there exist, classes, where there are more than one lot of students; as you can imagine in Senior 1 classes we had two groups of those that were just there and those that passed P7 to join S1 so the ministry recommended for automatic promotion to avoid overcrowding. So with all these measures, I know the students will definitely soon get back on the right track. How are the disabled going to be catered for in school after the lockdown? The disabled as usual have specific schools or faculties they belong to, like in Kyambogo there is a whole faculty for the disabled students. To be honest, I don't know why you think that the disabled are the most disadvantaged in this because for me I see as if most of the disabled students even if we assessed the rate of teenage pregnancy in them you would find a very low percentage or none. This is all because these students have always been home concentrating on their academics from home other than moving up and down like the other ones. We as UNSA in our very back-to-school campaign are also looking at financially helping the disabled students who have been unable to get back to school because of lack of funds.But if you think that the disabled have a problem in mindset or in concentration in school, you are probably wrong! Has the Ugandan government done enough to facilitate the schools they have reopened? Definitely No! We have seen very many schools fail to open because of inadequate funds to operate. Several schools have been grabbed by banks because of heavy bank loans, the high levels of teenage pregnancy in the Nation, and many more. All these are issues that the government was/is meant to mitigate but has not done. It barely said, "we have opened schools so go", even if you moved to these schools, there are hardly any Covid SOPs being followed, and this is because there are no funds to purchase equipment like soap, washing cans, and many more. Give us a wrap-up regarding the reopening of schools in Uganda in 2022. As I conclude, I want to ask every student in Uganda to get back to school whether you're a teenage mother or are just pregnant; the issue is to go back to school and not lose any more time outside of school. We have already lost so much time as a country, so I request the ministry of education and sports to please bail out the struggling schools so that they don't close. Thank you for your audience.