Ministry of Education, Guyana

Thursday, 02 December 2010 07:32

Twenty teenage mothers to be re-integrated into school

The United States Embassy has recently donated a quantity of baby and hygiene kits to 20 teenage mothers in a move to have them re-integrated into the school system.

The assistance which included diapers, blankets, bonnets, socks, soaps and towels was in support of the Ministry of Education's programme to afford school age victims of teenage pregnancy an opportunity to continue their secondary education.

According to Acting Chief Schools' Welfare Officer, Carol Melville three of the mothers who are between 14 to 16 years will be re-integrated into the school system in the next school term. These students will be placed at the school they last attended, if they so request or at another school of choice to avoid any stigma or discrimination. The others, Melville said who are above 16 years will be enrolled at the Adult Education Association, the Carnegie School of Home Economics or the Sophia Training Centre. She pointed out that the young mothers came to the attention of the Schools' Welfare Department following her officers outreach visits to health clinics, schools and communities.

The Acting Chief Schools' Welfare Officer reported that the girls will be interviewed to assess their educational level as well as to get an understanding of their plans for the future. Their grandparents, she noted will also be interviewed and educational sessions will be done with the teenage mothers with the focus of empowering them. These sessions will cover several areas including life skills, building self-esteem, literacy and numeracy, parenting and child care, skills training, stress and anger management and basic Information Technology.

Melville stressed that the objective of the programme is to identify the needs of the targeted individuals, collect, collate and disseminate information on their experiences, empower them to perform their role as parents, provide services to enhance and support their wellbeing as well as one-one emotional and practical support. These efforts , she said are aimed at helping the young mothers to adjust to their new role as parent, be able to complete secondary school and further their education, learn a skill to gain employment or be self-employed and become meaningful contributors to society.

The Ministry of Education has recognized that the drastic changes in people's lifestyles over the past three decades and the programme to re-integrate teenage mothers in school is one of the measures it has taken to ensure a progressive society for the vulnerable.

The Ministry is also of the view that education is a human right and a child who has become pregnant at 14 years has not lost that right, moreover, the programme is in keeping with its wider policy of inclusive education and education access to all. Headteachers have been encouraged to develop a sense of appreciation for teenage parents as some are victims of broken homes and other varying unfortunate circumstances.

Five teenage mothers were successfully re-integrated into the school system last year.

The Schools' Welfare Department will soon carry out surveys to obtain samples of affected teenage mothers and pregnant girls in Regions Three, Four, Five and Georgetown.

The findings of a recent research done here on the subject has revealed that teen mothers have an interest in continuing their education but need various forms of intervention and support to succeed in this area. These include an education environment that respects and understands their situation. Education Minister Shaik Baksh has noted that the quest to raise a literate population and enable every citizen an opportunity to be marketable has been demonstrated by the government's interventions to improve the quality of life of every citizen, inclusive of the disadvantaged population.

Read 2611 times Last modified on Monday, 15 August 2011 10:42
You are here: Home Media Twenty teenage mothers to be re-integrated into school