By Nicholas Kajoba
Gulu District Education Officer (DEO), Vicent Ocheng has petitioned the district council to enact bye-law that bans the sale of alcohol to pupils and students in the district.
Ocheng made the remarks at the launch of Uganda Red Card Campaign in conjunction with straight talk Foundation (STF) at Acholi Inn Gulu town Thursday. The campaign was launched in Gulu, considered to be a hub of activity in Northern Uganda for underage drinking.
Ocheng said that most children spend time watching movies in video halls and end up taking local brew that are packed in sachets. He said that most of the bars and video halls owners have failed to respect the education ordinances that were passed by the council in 2010.
“We need to enforce the district education laws that stipulated that bars and video halls should be located four kilometers away from any education institution. But the problem is that most of the bars are just located few meters away from these schools,” he said.
Ocheng warned teachers in the district against over-drinking saying that the culprits would be dealt with as law stipulates. He added that teachers who are caught drinking during day would lose their teaching licenses.
He said that the district would soon start random testing of alcohol among teachers, students and pupils so that those found to be having alcohol content in their bodies would have to answer to relevant authorities.
Martha Akello, an officer of STF said that underage drinking is responsible for factors such as early school dropout, mental and physical health problems as well as increase in crime in the district.
“As part of Red card to underage drinking campaign STF organized a series of activities aimed at raising awareness on the dangers of underage drinking and engage teenagers to discuss alcohol abuse,” she said.
The red card to underage drinking campaign targets adolescent aged 10-17 both in and out of school in both urban and rural areas.
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Gulu tops underage drinking in northern Uganda