An Education Officer has raised concerns over the spate of teenage pregnancies among students in the Jirapa municipality of the Upper West Region.
At least 27 schoolgirls are reported to be pregnant in the Jirapa municipality, 21 of which are Junior High School students and the remaining being in Senior High Schools.
The Jirapa Municipal Girls Education Officer, Sophia A.K Jakpa, who made these concerns to Citi News said the girls conceived during the closure of schools from March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said the 27 cases were recorded in preliminary research conducted by her outfit, after several reports of teenage pregnancies in the municipality.
“Though they were told to be off from school, they were engaged in sexual activities,” she noted.
Mrs. Jakpa also expressed fears that the number could increase at the end of the research and blamed the situation on inadequate parental care.
“Some parents are not ready to support their children’s education or even provide their basic needs. You find girls going to beg for food to eat.”
“Girls think that the best thing is to go to a boy and when they go to boys to collect these things, it is not always free,” she noted.
She has therefore called for a much stronger policy framework that will educate teenage girls on sexual reproductive health in the area.
Policy research and advocacy NGO, Africa Education Watch, has already sounded the alarm over the increased rate of teenage pregnancies.
Its research in July 2020 found that 20 percent of the schools sampled recorded cases of girls not returning to school because 85 percent of the girls were pregnant and 15 percent had married early.
The research surveyed 200 schools across the country comprising Junior High Schools and Senior High Schools (SHS) during the reopening period for final year students.