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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Why teenage pregnancy is threat to girl child education

Teenage pregnancy has been identified as one of the main problem that continues to bedevil the education of the girlchild ultimately ending up ruining their future, Machakos County Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson Francisca Mutinda has warned.
She says that the teenage pregnancy is a threat to the education of a girlchild both in Kenya, African countries and in the entire world.
“This threat of teenage pregnancy is forcing some of them to drop from school, performing poorly in examination as well as finding it very difficult to cope up with the rest as teen mothers,” she says.
Speaking to Weekly Citizen, Mutinda said early pregnancy has been one of the major causes of wastage in the education of girls not only in the country but across the African continent and the entire world.
“A policy adjustment is intended to deal with reality and to ensure that girls are not unduly disadvantaged,” she said.
She added that pregnant girls who have dropped out of school due to pregnancy should be readmitted to continue their education after making adequate arrangements for the care of their babies.
Recently, the education ministry noted that teenage pregnancies contribute to girls having a higher chance of dropping out of secondary schools.
The MYWO boss said the state should introduce a bursary programme directed at girls in especially difficult circumstances, in particular those at the upper primary level in the rural and slum areas.
She said the education system still faces many problems. “Inadequate policy and legal frameworks and statements have negatively affected the development of quality basic education,” she adds.
Mutinda says girls in secondary schools should be taken through proper sex education to create awareness among them.
“There are so many changes and body developments they usually undergo and how to cope up with each one of them,” the MYWO leader said.
“There is need to equip girlchild with life skills that they might need to overcome the many sex challenges they are likely to encounter in life that may result to teen pregnancy,” she says.
 She added that teen mothers should be encouraged and given every support they need to enable them go back to school to complete their studies to reduce or avoid education wastage due to early pregnancies.
Mutinda reiterated that girls should not be stigmatised but should be accepted in society in the condition they are in and be encouraged to go back to school after birth.
According to a report released by the United Nations Population Funds Africa has the world’s highest rates of adolescent pregnancy, a factor that affects the health, education, and earning potential of millions of African girls.
When a girl becomes pregnant or has a child, her health, education, earning potential and her entire future may be in jeopardy, trapping her in a lifetime of poverty, exclusion and powerlessness, the report says.
“Adolescent pregnancy is intertwined with issues of human rights. A pregnant girl who is pressured or forced to leave school, for example, is denied her right to education,” the report further adds.
There are 580 million adolescent girls in the world. Four out of five of them live in developing countries. Investing in them today will unleash their full potential to shape humanity’s future, notes the report.
Africa’s women and girls offer enormous untapped potentials to drive African development agenda.
The distorted transitioning of girls into womanhood because of early pregnancy ought to be seen as a significant economic loss.
A parent, Jane Mutile, says young women aged 15 to 19 years are twice as likely to die from complications in pregnancy as compared to older women.
“The chances of death in the first year of life for a baby born to a woman under the age of 18 years is 60 per cent greater than that of one born to woman aged 19 years or older,” Mutile said.
Teenage pregnancy has been on the rise in Kenya for many years and the situation is likely to get out of hand if nothing is done, analysts observe.