Pregnancy not barrier to education

The Monday, March 25, 2021, issue of the Daily Graphic provided details on a STAR Ghana Foundation dialogue on the government’s re-entry policy for schoolgirls who become pregnant. The dialogue was held in Tamale in the Northern Region.

The engagement was to reach consensus among parents, guardians, traditional and local government authorities, educational facility administrators and policy makers in the Northern, Savannah, North East, Upper East and Upper West regions on the issue of the re-admission of girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy.

It was also to harmonise the efforts of stakeholders on the issue at the district and regional levels. The meeting was a precursor to a national dialogue to be held later.

Participants at the dialogue identified poverty and the lack of sex education as causes of pregnancy among schoolgirls, while stigmatisation of pregnant schoolgirls was a factor that ‘killed’ their education and prevented them from going back to pick up their education after delivery.

They called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to strengthen its Guidance and Counselling Unit to provide the appropriate support for girls for them to concentrate on their education.

Ghana has, indeed, come a long way on the issue of the re-admission of schoolgirls who are mothers. It was unthinkable, not too long ago, for such to have education. Once a schoolgirl got pregnant, she was condemned to a life of illiteracy and poverty.

Thankfully, the government has now developed a policy guideline on the re-admission of schoolgirls who get pregnant after they give birth.

The policy will help prevent the exclusion of young mothers from schooling.

The Daily Graphic commends the Ministry of Education for its policy on the re-admission of girls who get pregnant.

This policy ensures that the right to education is enjoyed by all. It also ensures that parents or guardians who desire the re-admission of their children or wards to schools have a basis for that.

It gives the promise that the country will certainly meet Sustainable Development Goal 4 on ensuring inclusive and quality education and promoting life-long educational opportunities for all by 2030.

The Daily Graphic commends the STAR Ghana Foundation for convening the meeting on this high priority issue. Indeed, it convened the meeting on information from its COVID-19, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (GSBV) dialogue.

That dialogue emphasised increased advocacy on the protection of the rights of girls, including the right to education and re-engaging on the re-entry policy.

By that STAR Ghana Foundation-led dialogue on the re-entry policy, Ghana has shown that there must be no barriers to education.

Indeed, we must all work towards the abolition of all factors that hinder the right to education.

The Daily Graphic also supports the call by stakeholders for the GES to strengthen Guidance and Counselling units for them to provide the appropriate support for our young ones.

More importantly, we cannot emphasise enough the role of parental guidance, care and support. Parents must be the support that children can trust and resort to for help in difficult moments. That must not break down in Ghanaian societies!

The second layer in this support system comprise school teachers and the guidance and counselling units.

Source: Graphic