Twenty-four pregnant girls and eight nursing mothers, participated in the just-ended Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) in the Asutifi North District of Brong-Ahafo.
The number represented a 100 per cent increment over last year’s figures, which had 12 pregnant girls and 12 nursing mothers as candidates, Mrs. Abrafi Kyei, Asutifi North Girls’ Education Officer, stated during a ‘project citizen show case programme’ on Wednesday at Kenyase.
The programme, jointly organised by Action Aid Ghana and the Center for Maternal Community Empowerment (CMCE), a local community-based civil society organization, was aimed at giving opportunities to Junior High School (JHS) students in the Asutifi North and South Districts to present their concerns and challenges to the society.
It was also a platform to educate the general public about those concerns and challenges, and identify possible solutions to them.
Students from four JHSs at Kodiwohia, Kenyase Number Three (Atwedie) and Dokyikrom, all in the Asutifi North and Apenemadi in Asutifi South, presented their findings about issues affecting education and the society in general in the two districts.
Mrs. Kyei bemoaned the fact that teenage pregnancy had become so alarming in the two districts, and said this unfortunate situation therefore needed a holistic approach to curb and reduce the rate of occurrence.
She urged parents to be responsible by providing the basic necessities of life to their children, especially their daughters, to support them to stay in school.
Mrs. Kyei advised parents not to neglect their children who gave birth while in school, but encourage and assist them in such situations to get back to school.
She called for the formation of girls’ clubs in the schools to assist in the sensitization of pupils and students about the dangers of early sex and teenage pregnancy, for them to abstain from it.
Outstanding issues from the presentation by each of the four schools were teenage pregnancy, abortion and lack of health facilities in Asutifi North.
The students in their presentations expressed worry over the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy in the area, and stated that some schools in the districts since 2014 could record about five teenage pregnancies in a term, thus increasing the rate of school drop-outs.
They called for the introduction of sex education in schools, to alert school children on the menace and its consequences in the community
Mr. Kwame Afram Denkyira, Officer responsible for Education at the Actionaid Ghana’s Brong-Ahafo Regional Office, appealed to stakeholders to collaborate and identify measures to halt ‘galamsey’ which was taking school children out of the classroom.
Mr. Afram stated that the confidence of the youth must be built to enable them to make best decisions, in order to contribute meaningfully to national development.
He emphasized that the project aimed at building the self-confidence of the youth in the two districts, to enable them to realize their full potentials, to champion their own development agenda for the eradication of poverty and injustice from the communities.