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Story Highlights

  • Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean, Sheila Roseau, is advocating that Jamaica’s reintegration policy for adolescent mothers be adopted by other Caribbean countries.
  • Jamaica is seen as a role model for allowing adolescent mothers to return to school to complete their education.
  • Speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, Miss Roseau said that Jamaica is one of the few countries in the Caribbean with a policy for girls to return to school.

Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean, Sheila Roseau, is advocating that Jamaica’s reintegration policy for adolescent mothers be adopted by other Caribbean countries.

Jamaica is seen as a role model for allowing adolescent mothers to return to school to complete their education.

This is done under the National Reintegration Policy of the Ministry of Education launched in 2013, whereby school aged mothers are allowed into the formal school system.The document sets out clear guidelines to ensure that adolescent mothers are not denied the opportunity to re-enter the school system.

Speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, Miss Roseau said that Jamaica is one of the few countries in the Caribbean with a policy for girls to return to school.

“That is a model that we advocate throughout the region…so it is not up to the principal to say whether you can go back to school or not, or who can negotiate with who for girls to go back to school.  We know that in some instances, countries do try…they do have programmes in place,” she noted.

She said the UNFPA has been facilitating the sharing of good practices related to the reduction of adolescent pregnancy across the Caribbean.

“We do offer a lot to other countries through South-South cooperation, where they come and learn from what’s happening in Jamaica, in terms of having that Reintegration policy and that has helped,” Miss Roseau added.

The UNFPA representative said that the policy does not only allow the girls to go back to school, but it involves counselling sessions to prevent a second pregnancy.

“That’s very important. They make a mistake once, they mustn’t be punished. This is what we have seen happening in some quarters, where they started early by a mistake and it goes on because of the lack of attention. So, concentrated attention and efforts are needed to prevent adolescent pregnancy,” she emphasised.