By: Sefakor Fekpe
The Mpamproase and Kudikope communities in the Asuogyamang District of the Eastern region have expressed worry about the high rate of teenage pregnancy among female pupils in the area.
Speaking at the inauguration of a three-unit classroom block for the Mpamproase basic school built by an NGO, Pencils of Promise, the head teacher of the school, Sarpong William Yaw said for the past eight years, only one female pupil has been able to complete both JHS and SHS. He described the situation as very worrying.
The two communities are therefore appealing to the Ghana Education Service to as a matter of urgency post female teachers to the basic schools to serve as role models for the pupils.
“I have been here for eight years and only one has completed JHS and SHS. It’s like the children when they reach JHS two, all of a sudden then they are get pregnant. So one problem also is that we don’t have female teachers here; if the female teachers were to be here, it will help us. So am pleading with the District Directorate of Education in collaboration with the District Assembly to give us a female teacher to help them. She will educate the children so that at least they can even complete JHS,” Mr. Sarpong appealed.
Teenage pregnancy is one of the major cankers bedeviling the development of young girls despite efforts by government and other stakeholders to bring the situation to its barest minimum.
Available data at the Ghana Health Service indicates that a total of 25,285 girls got pregnant in the Eastern Region over the past two years.
In the cases of Mpamproase and Kudikope communities in the Asuogyamang District of the Eastern region, teachers attributed the situation to poverty and lack of role models in the area.
The two schools do not suffer in terms of infrastructure as an NGO; Pencils of Promise is the latest to provide a three-unit classroom block each, worth Ghc400,000 to make them fully complete. However, this fate seems not to be yielding the intended results as most of the students drop out of school upon reaching JHS.
Kudikope for instance recorded about 10 teenage pregnancy cases in past two years.
Meanwhile, the District Director of Education, Mavis Yirenkyi bemoaned the rate and called on parents to be more responsive to their children’s needs and ensure their proper upbringing.
She revealed that the district is in the process of sending the drop-outs back to school.
“It’s good that we have female teachers in the schools to serve as role models to the girls and even to the boys but we don’t have most of them coming in to get the sponsorship. So the few that we have, we look at the most needed places and send them….we would have wished that we get for all of them particularly along the fishing villages.”
“My girls’ education officer is going round collecting data on the pregnant girls. Some of them, we will change their communities and put them back to school. We impress it upon the men to leave the girls and if the parents can also take up their responsibilities, some of these will be minimized,” Madam Yirenkyi emphasized.
The Country Director of Pencils of Promise, Freeman Gobah also decried the upsurge in the situation and called for lasting solution to the canker.
He bemoaned the lack of maintenance culture in public schools saying it discourages investment from non governmental agencies and individuals who may want to support government in providing infrastructure.