Policy research and advocacy NGO, Africa Education Watch, has advocated for more flexible admissions into Senior High Schools for girls who try to return to school after pregnancy.
This comes in the wake of its research indicating that the closure of schools during the coronavirus pandemic increased the rate of teenage pregnancy.
Kofi Asare, the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, noted on the Citi Breakfast Show that the current architecture of admissions under the free Senior High School system did not permit re-entry.
“The Free Senior High School gives students a unique ID number and that number is the basis for which the government pays your fees. That number is valid for only three years,” he explained.
To address this, he said his NGO was engaging the Minister of Education and other stakeholders.
“Our aim was to engage policymakers on how to make the admissions system flexible, at least for girls who are re-entering because it is envisaged that the long school closures in Ghana will have an effect on the teenage pregnancies,” Mr. Asare said.
The NGO’s research in July found that 20 percent of the schools sampled recorded cases of girls not returning to school because 85 percent of the girls were pregnant and 15 percent had married early.
The research surveyed 200 schools across the country comprising Junior High Schools and Senior High Schools (SHS) during the reopening period for final year students.
To curb the incidences of teenage pregnancy, Africa Education Watch is working to start community-level campaign “Aimed at ensuring that girls are more assertive and more resistant to violence and they are less prone to get into activities that will get them pregnant.”
Mr. Asare said Ghana has not done enough to confront the issue of sexual and reproductive health rights head-on “because of its ramifications on culture and religion”
“It requires relegating certain entrenched traditions, cultural and religious beliefs that we think it will infringe upon,” he remarked.