Stakeholders at a dialogue on the education re-entry policy for girls have called on traditional authorities, parents and community members to play their roles effectively to ensure that teenage mothers who have dropped out of school due to pregnancy return to school after delivery to complete their education.
They also called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to strengthen its guidance and counselling unit to provide the appropriate services for pupils and students at the pre-tertiary level of education to enable them to focus on their education.
The dialogue was held in Tamale last Thursday and convened by the Star Ghana Foundation. It brought together civil society organisations (CSOs) working to promote the rights of girls to education, regional and district directors of education, the Girls Education Unit (GEU), Social Welfare, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), and traditional authorities from the Northern, Savannah, North East, Upper East and Upper West regions.
The dialogue provided the opportunity for the participants to discuss ways to harmonise the efforts of stakeholders at the regional and district levels who have the responsibility to implement the re-entry policy at the community level.
The stakeholders also urged parents and guardians to open up to their children and wards, especially the girls, on sex education to prevent them from getting pregnant.
They identified the lack of sex education and poverty as some of the major factors that contributed to teenage pregnancy, while stigmatisation by peers and from the community were also identified as factors that hindered teenage mothers from returning to school to complete their education after delivery.
Girls re-entry policy
The government’s policy on re-entry for girls is to ensure that girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy are readmitted after giving birth.
The aim of the policy is to implement measures that will help prevent the exclusion of young mothers from furthering their education. In the event of a girl being forced out of school due to pregnancy, a policy guideline has been provided to assist schools and other stakeholders such as parents and guardians to ensure that the girl is enabled to complete her education.
The Programmes Manager for Star Ghana Foundation, Ms Eunice R Agbenyadzi, in her opening remarks, said the northern Ghana dialogue preceded a national one to be held later.
She said the dialogue was based on the recommendations from a Star-Ghana-facilitated dialogue on COVID-19 and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) that emphasised the need for increased advocacy to protect girls, right to education, including re-engaging the education re-entry policy.
Ms Agbenyadzi said the efforts of stakeholders must be geared towards ensuring that the rights of girls to education were protected to enable them to remain in school.
According to her, when girls had access to quality education and were encouraged to remain in school, it would accelerate the country’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal Four (SDG 4) which is aimed at ensuring inclusive and quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.
The Northern Regional Director of Education, Dr Peter Attafuah, stated that the Ghana Education Service (GES) had stepped up its efforts to ensure that no child of school age was left behind, including teenage mothers who had the opportunity of being readmitted to continue their education.