WHEN the Government came up with a re-admission programme for school girls who became mothers, this was done in good faith out of sympathy for the females, especially that under the previous school rules, girls who became pregnant were immediately expelled from school.
In contrast, if the boy was responsible for the girl’s pregnancy, he was allowed to continue with his education until he finished.
Today, it is clear that the Government’s goodwill gesture is being abused by some girls who see it as the green light to engage in pre-marital sex as seen from the high number of school girls becoming pregnant.
Instead of concentrating on education, the pupils have rather broken loose, engaging in health-risk behaviours such as tobacco, alcohol and other drug use, as well as sexual behaviours that contribute not only to sexually transmitted infections but also unintended pregnancies.
That 87 girls can fall pregnant from one school last year alone and 10 have already gone on maternity leave may sound alarming but is the reality.
Experts on sexuality have attributed this incidence mainly to low socio-economic status, saying this forces some school girls into the arms of people, including taxi and minibus drivers who give them free rides and buy them talk time.
While other factors responsible for high pregnancy rates, especially for the rural girl-child may be deprivation of education, the urban dweller also goes to her teacher from whom she expects higher marks, although this nowadays has become very rare.
These reasons, together with peer group influence, are major contributors to the high pregnancy rate among school girls in the country, and the solution lies with sex education starting with homes where pupils come from.
Parents and guardians are considered to be the most important sources of reproductive health education to young persons, and this is useful for the prevention of early pregnancies.
Of course no parent would love his/her daughter to have a baby while at school, and we are sure most parents/guardians have been encouraging their children to concentrate on school work.
We, therefore, implore them to go on and further educate their girl-children in particular on reproductive issues, to show them love and explain to them the importance of education. This is of paramount importance in preventing pregnancies among school-going girls.