STMA brainstorm with stakeholders on teenage pregnancy and school dropouts

Education Schools Challenges
Education Schools Challenges

Statistics provided by the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Directorate of Education has revealed increased figures in truancy, pregnancy, and school dropouts between 2021 and 2022.

The Directorate recorded a total of 97 truancies in 2020/21 with Kojokrom Circuit scoring the highest of 21, followed by Sekondi, 17, Takoradi East, 14, Takoradi West, eight while Takoradi central had the least of three.
The total figure, however, dropped to 83 in 2021/22.

Meanwhile, at the SHS level, truancies went up from 69 in 2020/21 to 362 in 2021/22, Mrs Sally Nelly Coleman, stated at a meeting with the media on campaign for youth -oriented and gender sensitive topics held at Sekondi as part of Twin Cities in Sustainable Partnership Project (TCSPP) to address, child prostitution and teenage pregnancies.

She said “These are big issues among our students, and militating against academic performance. We are making frantic efforts to eradicate or reduce it to the barest minimum.”

Mrs Coleman noted truancy, cuts across all the levels, but the major ones were those who had registered for Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).”

With pregnancy at basic level, Mrs Coleman reported that, Essikado recorded the highest of five from 2020/21 to 2021/22, and that the general situation showed a slight increase from 26 to 28 during the period, stressing “the trend is alarming.”

Regarding dropouts, she told the participants that 24 cases recorded at the basic level during the period had also gone up to 32, saying “that is also an alarming increment.”

Comparing 2021 with 2022, Mrs Coleman mentioned that figures on truancies were still counting even before the examinations were to be written and that “I speak, we have three before WASSCE and BECE starts in August and September, respectively.”

Truancy at the SHS level in 2020/ 2021, she said, was 69 and increased to 362 while pregnancies rose from 19 to 35. Drop-outs also rose from 102 to 721 in 2021/22, academic year.

“This is overwhelming and an alarming increment in all the three issues we have highlighted. The moment the students are registered for BECE and WASSCE, some of them decide to come to school, as and when they like, but not according to the timetable. Therefore, we have met to help us discuss the way forward to curb such menace in our society,” she commented.

The Director said the office had started community engagements to discuss the key issues especially with those along the coastal line within Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.

Again, they had also invited parents, religious leaders, assemblymembers, teachers and other stakeholders to discuss measures as to how to prevent the challenges with dropout and come back to school and complete that education.

According to Mrs Coleman, the counselling unit has also been beefed-up with resources and guidelines on disciplinary codes to educate the students, the parents, and the community particularly on the truancy among the final years, either at the basic or SHS level.

During interactions, participants noted how parental control seemed to be on the low.

Mr Opoku Emmanuel, a participant, said there seemed to be no vision and ambition for the children who are the future, hence the alarming rates of truancies, drop-outs, and pregnancies.

Mr Clement Adjei Boye a journalist, wondered why children were allowed to go out and come in at their own will “…How can a child go out to play and come home after midnight”? And encouraged education authorities to tighten disciplinary measures.

Mr Michael Doku, Chairman of the Social Services Committee also urged the media to enhance education on their platforms to promote excellence and scholarship among students.

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