Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, says the Ministry stands ready to assist teenage girls, forced to dropped out of high school due to pregnancy, to complete their secondary education after giving birth.
He also implores Principals and other secondary school administrators to assist in re-admitting the girls into the education system, citing that this is “mandatory”.
Speaking at a recent forum, hosted by the Association of Principals and Vice Principals, at Moneague College in St. Ann, Rev. Thwaites underscored the need for the schools and communities, to which the girls are attached, to provide the level of support that will enable them to resume normal lives. He also urged administrators at the schools where the youngsters were enrolled to assist them in accessing all of the interventions necessary to facilitate this.
“Make sure that she goes to the Women’s Centre, and gets the kind of help and counselling that is available. I hope that we would be broad minded enough to recognise that a student becoming pregnant is not a crime. What she has delivered is new life into this world,” he said.
The Minister also implored the school community, where possible, to welcome her back “because she has a difficulty and needs help to overcome that, rather than be subjected to scorn.”
“If she can’t, or if it is not wise for her to go back to that school, the Principal and the teachers…must facilitate her being admitted to another school,” he stressed.
Rev. Thwaites also emphasised the need for the girls to take advantage of the interventions being provided and avoid getting pregnant again before completing their secondary education.
“I have seen too many girls who fall into a second pregnancy. Let us try and use our efforts to strengthen each other and prevent such reoccurrences,” the Minister said, while urging the youngsters to contact the Ministry to get assistance.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter