Headmistress for Kwahu Nkwatia Presbyterian Senior High School, Mrs Cythia Anim, has called for the review of a government directive for pregnant students to stay in school.
The headmistress believes students at the basic and secondary levels are taking advantage of the policy.
This came to light when stakeholders in the Educational sector in the Eastern region raised concerns over the high rate of teenage pregnancy among students in both Basic and Senior High Schools.
According to some heads of secondary schools, female students resume school pregnant, with some of them wearing engagement rings.
“Some female students returned to school pregnant and wearing engagement rings. They got impregnated and were forced into marriage. But the policy says you cannot sack them from the school so I allowed them to stay in school. I only asked them to remove the rings. In all this it will get to a stage they will drop out of school when the belly protrudes,” the Headmistress of Kwahu Nkwatia Presbyterian Senior High School, Mrs. Cythia Anim said in a meeting in Koforidua by Girls Education Network formed by Plan International Ghana.
Mrs Cynthia Anim said there is a need for a review of the Ghana Education Service (GES) directive to check the rate of teenage pregnancy among the students.
The Headmistress, who is a former Eastern Regional Officer of Girls Education at the GES added: “Although there is a policy by GES that the girls should be in school even when they are pregnant. We the heads of Senior high schools are in agreement with that government policy but we realized that the stakeholders have to go back to the drawing board and the government as a whole to review it…because the students are abusing it and doing their own things.”
There have been many stakeholder engagements on Girl Child Education as a way to improve the access and quality of education among girls.
These engagements resulted in the directive to the heads of basic and secondary schools to keep pregnant girls in school.
Stakeholders are also advocating for amendment of aspects of the laws of Ghana that allow a person to consent to sexual activity at the age of 16 but could only marry when the person reaches 18 years.
This arrangement, they say exposes young girls to danger and creates a window for people to take advantage of them resulting in the current alarming rate of teenage pregnancy among basic and Senior high school students in the country.
A total of 109,888 adolescent girls were impregnated in 2020 in Ghana. Out of the number 2,865 were between 10 and 14 years while those with ages between 15 and 19 years were 107,023.
The Eastern Region recorded the second-highest numbers in teenage pregnancy.
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