Madam Rita Abamah, the Girl Child Education Officer, Ghana Education Service, in charge of the Bongo District of the Upper East Region has advised parents not to abandon their teenage pregnant girls to their fate.
“I will urge you, parents and guardians, to support your children to return to the formal school system after delivery or learn a vocational skill to empower them economically to help reduce poverty and vulnerability”.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Madam Abamah bemoaned the incessant increase in teenage pregnancy cases in the region and noted it was having a toll on education and the future of the girls especially those in the rural communities.
“Teenage pregnancy is a big problem in Bongo and many girls are dropping out of school and putting their future in danger,” she said.
Statistics from the Demographic Health Survey of the Ghana Health Service revealed more than half a million of teenage girls were on record to have gotten pregnant between 2016 and 2020 across the country.
Apart from the 6,533 teenage pregnancies recorded in the region in 2020, within the first 10 months of 2021, the region recorded over 5,000 teenage pregnancies with 1,639 cases recorded in the first quarter.
According to the Girl Child Education Officer, apart from the emotional, psychological and other challenges that most teenage mothers faced, they also found it difficult to continue school or secure a good vocation as some parents were unwilling to invest in them further.
She said aside the reentry policy being implemented by the GES to help teenage mothers to return to the formal school system, Technical, Vocational Education and Training was a vibrant alternative that parents could enroll their teenage mothers to acquire skills.
She said that would restore the lost confidence in the girls and enable them make up for the miss in the formal learning system and help reduce unemployment and over dependency, rural urban migration and poverty.
“Government is shifting attention to TVET to empower the youth with practical skills because that is where the job market has shifted to. So do not shun your teenage pregnant children but rather support them to go back to school to do skills training,” she added.
Madam Abamah advised parents to constantly engage their children especially the girls and provide them with basic necessities which would prevent them from indulging in transactional sex.