Effutu Municipality steps up efforts to address teenage pregnancy
The Effutu Municipal Education Directorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES) has stepped up efforts to tackle what it describes as the increasing cases of teenage pregnancy among schoolchildren in the municipality, since 2010.
The situation has resulted in teenage girls dropping out of school and unable to pursue their dreams and aspirations in life.
Statistics available to the Girls’ Education Unit of the Municipal GES point to an annual increase in teenage pregnancy in the Effutu Municipality. In the 2010/2011 academic year, a total of 27 pregnancies were reported.
The figure increased to 29 in the 2011/2012 academic year and further moved upwards to 32 in the 2012/2013 academic year.
Again, in the 2013/2014 academic year, the unit recorded 36 teenage pregnancies which also increased to 43 in the 2014/2015 academic year,
Victims of the reported cases were forced to drop out of school, which subsequently affected their education.
As a measure to control and reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy in the municipality, the Girls’ Education Unit, as part of the week-long celebration of its Girls’ Education Week, embarked on a series of events to sensitise churches, parents and children to the consequences of teenage pregnancy, parental responsibilities and issues affecting girls’ education.
It took the forms of film shows, radio discussions and community interactions in areas such as Gyangyanadze, Ateitu, Osubonpanyin, Atekyedo, Gyahadze and Nsuekyir.
A durbar was held to climax the celebration last Tuesday, on the theme: “Retaining girls in school for an empowered future.’’
It was preceded by a float through the principal streets of the town, which was attended by schoolgirls who held placards with various inscriptions. Some of them read ‘say no to prostitution’, ‘Education our priority’, ‘Stop impregnating schoolgirls’, ‘Give the girl child sex education’, ‘stop abusing the girl child sexually’, ‘Say no to premarital sex’ and ‘avoid teenage marriages’.
Girls’ Education Officer
Addressing the durbar, the Municipal Girls’ Education Officer, Mrs Faustina A. A. Kwofie, said data collected revealed a steady increase in teenage pregnancy in the area since 2010, causing most of the girls to drop out of school.
She said in view of that, her outfit organised the Girls’ Education Week with the objective of creating awareness of issues affecting girls’ education, as well as to mobilise support for girls’ education in the municipality in order to reduce school dropout rate among girls and to improve girls’ retention in schools.
She called on all stakeholders to come together and mobilise support for girls’ education in the municipality so as to ensure that girls stayed in school to achieve their goals in life.
Director of Education
The Effutu Municipal Director of Education, Dr Mrs Hilda Eghan, in a speech read on her behalf, stated that girl-child education had become a national issue in the past decades, ever since attention was drawn to the gender disparities in the education of children of school age.
She explained that the GES and the Ministry of Education had adopted several strategies to address the situation, particularly with the establishment of the Girls’ Education Unit at the GES, which had been decentralised to the district level.
Appeal to parents
A Deputy Coordinating Director at the Effutu Municipal Assembly, Madam Rachel A. Amofah, said the problem was prevalent, particularly at the coastal areas, and, therefore, called on parents to place value on the education of their children so as to reduce teenage pregnancy in the municipality.
She encouraged the teenage girls to have their dreams in mind and to make conscious efforts to pursue them so that they would become responsible adults in future.
The wife of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Dr Mrs Edinam Avoke, in a short remark, attributed the situation to greed among some of the teenage girls, and, therefore, admonished them to study hard and forget about the earthly pleasures, since they could acquire them in future when they were well established.
The Head of the Chemistry Department at the UEW, Dr Mrs Ruby Hanson, who chaired the function, called for collaborative efforts by all stakeholders to control the incidence of teenage pregnancy in the municipality.