Today is International Day of the Girl Child; a day set aside by the United Nations to reflect and take action on issues affecting the development of girls worldwide, especially their education.
Teenage pregnancy, caused mainly by sexual exploitation, and the absence of girl- friendly facilities in basic schools pose a major threat to girls’ education in Africa. Presently, about 20 percent of the continent’s teenage girls become pregnant annually, posing disruptions to their education while more than 30 percent of the Continent’s basic schools are without basic toilet facilities.
In Ghana, close to 40 percent of basic schools have no toilets, and about 24 percent of girls who enrol in kindergarten do not complete Junior High School, with teenage pregnancy being a major factor. The current teenage pregnancy rate of 14.2 percent is projected to increase by 2021 due to the long period of school closure occasioned by COVID-19.
On the International Day of the Girl Child 2020, Africa Education Watch calls on African governments to prioritize policies that;
- Provide re-admission opportunities for teenage girls after pregnancy.
- Provide nurseries and crèches in public schools, to enable teenage mothers enroll their children, as they [teenage mothers] re-enrol to complete school.
- Provide separate toilet facilities and changing rooms for girls in all schools, by entrenching separate toilet facilities and changing rooms for girls in school designs.
- Support girls who fall victim to sexual exploitation or violence.
Ultimately, as a people, let’s all commit to end teenage pregnancy and make schools safer and friendlier for girls, for an educated girl is an educated generation.