REdOs briefed on draft policy for Re-integration of adolescent mothers in schools
(April 19, 2018) – Regional Education Officers (REdOs) from the 11 education districts across Guyana were introduced to and briefed on the draft policy for the Re-integration of adolescent mothers into the formal school system.
This was done on Wednesday as part of the activities scheduled for the Annual REdOs Retreat being held this year in Mahdia, Region Eight, Potaro Siparuni. Presenting on the policy were Youth and Adolescent Development Officer for UNICEF Guyana, Ms. Jewell Crosse and Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) Coordinator within the Ministry of Education, Ms. Colleen King-Cameron.
During Ms. Crosse’s presentation, the REdOs were further apprised about some of the causes of pregnancy among adolescents which include poverty, peer pressure, sexual abuse, lack of sexual education and low self esteem.
According to Ms. Crosse, data shows that in every 1/5 of pregnancies in Guyana, one involves a teenager. She highlighted the importance for such a policy and went further to share some of her experiences across Guyana on the subject matter.
Further, she said that addressing the issue of adolescent pregnancy requires a multi-agency approach that would include a number of government Ministries including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Social Protection among others.
Among the issues discussed were the steps which can be taken when treating with cases of pregnant adolescents. Some of the steps that were highlighted include a psycho-social intervention with the child and involving parents or guardians in the process to chart a course forward. Similar steps will be taken with the father if he is a student as well.
She said that counselling and support has been identified as a service that should be provided to all parties involved.
Meanwhile, HFLE Coordinator, Ms. Colleen King- Cameron highlighted some of the measures that are necessary for the successful implementation of the policy. Some of these measures include providing a supportive environment that ensures teachers, students and general school staffs are sensitized to the needs of the adolescent child and advocacy on the right to and benefits of education.
During the presentation, the benefits of re-integration were also discussed. It was explained that through re-integration, adolescent mothers will be given the opportunity to complete their secondary education, increase their chances of pursuing tertiary-level education; re-integration can help to break the cycle of poverty, break inter-generational cycle of adolescent pregnancy and afford them their right to an education.
The policy is essentially geared towards the prevention of adolescent pregnancy, treating with pregnant adolescents and to administer the re-integration process of adolescent mothers into the formal school system.