The Ministry of Education is moving to implement a policy, to make it mandatory for schools to allow school-aged mothers to resume their education after childbirth.
This was disclosed by Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, at the weekly Jamaica House press briefing, held at the Office of the Prime Minister, on June 6.
Miss Falconer informed that Cabinet has approved the policy for mandatory re-integration of all teenaged mothers into the formal school system, following the completion of an intermediary education programme.
She said the policy is intended to allow the girls to continue their education after the birth of a child and not be barred from the school system.
“The schools will now be advised that places temporarily vacated by a student during a period of pregnancy should be retained for the student’s return to school, following the completion of an approved transitional programme,” she informed.
The education regulations provide that a girl who becomes pregnant shall leave the formal school system during the period of her pregnancy.
Under those stipulations, the Minister of Education has the discretion to facilitate the re-entry of such girls into educational institutions.
Senator Falconer noted that no policy framework existed before the exercise of this discretion.
“Instead, schools have, at times, misinterpreted the provision to treat the girls as absent from the school permanently,” she said.
The Minister said the new policy will provide the same flexibility to students wishing to attend a different school after they have had a child.
Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker