By John Masaba
Parliament has said it will not intervene to stop the suspension of Uganda Christian University (UCU) students despite being petitioned a fortnight ago by civil society organisations.
Twenty six girls of Bishop Barham University, an affiliate institution of UCU, were suspended after they were found to be pregnant during a random test.
Under their umbrella Voices for Health Rights, a coalition of 30 civil society health rights non-government organisation called for the review of the policy, in order to save the affected students.
However, the chairperson of the Parliamentary committee on education and sports, Sylvia Namabidde, told New Vision that private universities are bound by their own rules, and as an organ of government they cannot interfere.
“Government policy is that students who are found pregnant at university should not be discontinued and should enjoy the same benefits as the other students. However, this cannot apply in the case of UCU girls because private universities are not bound by the rule,” she said.
Namabidde said being a private university, their role in the matter would only be advisory and not binding.
A number religious founded universities among them Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU), and Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi outlaw sex outside wedlock and punishes any student found to be pregnant or who is caught in the sexual act.
Although UCU and Uganda Martyrs Nkozi punish students found guilty of the act with suspension, at IUIU the punishment is an indefinite expulsion.