Teachers have been asked to avoid use of corporal punishment or strong language against errant leaners since a number of them were exposed to sexual, physical and emotional abuse and neglect during the COVID-19 pandemic and are most likely to have long-lasting adverse psychological effects.
COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 11 March 2020, having spread to over 110 countries and territories.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Uganda Child Helpline run by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development which was established as a child protection mechanism 6 years ago, helpline averagely received 100 calls per day, reporting different forms of violence against children. However, shortly after the lockdown measures were put into place, between 10 and 26 April 2020, 21 904 calls were received with an average of 1369 calls a day, according to Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health report.
A previous studies conducted in Uganda have noted that child abuse victims are at higher risk of a multitude of adverse health outcomes including depression, suicidal behaviour, risky sexual behaviours and death as well as poorer educational/employment outcomes later in life.
Lukomoi Richard, a senior probation and social welfare officer with Amuru district, says with the psychosocial impacts of the pandemic, teachers should devise a way of helping learners who are in conflict with the school rules and regulations.