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The proposed ban on pregnant school girls

The proposed ban on pregnant school girls

It was at the recent conference of secondary school principals held in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone that the National Head of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), Sheriff Sapateh informed his audience that council has decided to ban pregnant school girls from taking future WAEC exams.

The question of banning school girls who are pregnant from taking public exams, to be specific, exams conduced by WAEC has remained a hotly debated issue.

As a matter of fact, opinion is sharply divided over it. One school of thought supports the move by WAEC, arguing that it doesn’t give bright example to other girls who could be induced to indulge in frivolous sexual activity with little or no regard to the social or economic consequences.

‘If others can do it and go through it, I can go through it also’, a girl would say to herself, regardless of her status.

Also, a ban of such nature could serve as a disincentive to immorality, one observer pointed out, arguing that it doesn’t send the right signal to future generation of school girls who may have the potential to further their education.

However, there are others who question the rationale of such a ban, given the human right aspect of it. The ban, they argue, will infringe on the rights of those pregnant girls to education.

In other words, it has to be by way of a legislation to enforce such a ban, otherwise WAEC would be trampling on the right to education of the girl child.

Furthermore, it is the view of proponent of the girl-child campaign that enforcing such a ban on young school girls would add to the dropout rate within the girl-child population in a country where frantic efforts are being geared toward the promotion of education of young girls as a means of creating a balance in the gender equation.

It is further opined that many school girls are coming from very poor parental background; depriving them from taking their exams simply because they are pregnant only worsen their social or economic condition.

Beyond this argument is the question about WAEC’s ability to determine the pregnancy of a girl on the eve of the exams.

Would WAEC be conducting pregnancy tests throughout the country to determine which girl is pregnant and how that pregnancy could affect her studies? This is the one million dollar question WAEC have to provide answers to.

After all, female students in universities or tertiary institutions are allowed to continue their courses even when they carry full blown pregnancy.

Let the debate continue until the right policy is adopted.

That’s our position on this issue of a ban.

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