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Regional News of Sunday, 17 May 2015

Source: GNA

Rate of pregnancy at schools is alarming

Mrs Catherine Nutsugah-Mikado, National Girl-Child Education Director, has observed that the rate at which girls are dropping out of school because of pregnancy is alarming.

She did not give the national figures but said an undisclosed district in the Volta Region, is topped the table last year, with 290 cases.

Mrs Nutsugah-Mikado was inaugurating the Akatsi-North District Girl-Child Education Club at Ave-Dakpa, as a platform for stalling the attrition rate of girls in school as result of pregnancy.

The formation of the club followed the reported pregnancy of 61 school girls in the Akatsi-North District within two months.

Mrs Nutsugah-Mikado said education is the only tool for empowering women and expressed regret at the manner in which the process is being curtailed for many of them as a result of early sex and pregnancy.

She said so many opportunities are being rolled out for the education of girls in the country and urged parents, communities and the girls to show interest.

Mrs Nutsugah-Mikado said the Girl-child Education Unit was not set up for nothing but to drive the education of girls forward.

She urged parents to take care of the need of their children and the men to live up to their responsibilities as fathers.

Mrs Nutsugah-Mikado said the clubs would build confidence, assertiveness and negotiation skills in the girls to enable them shove off male “predators”.

She asked the girls to report rape and defilement cases, dangerous male overtures to their parents and teachers and not to abuse pupil to pupil relationships.

Mrs Nutsugah-Mikado asked teachers to take the clubs seriously and work towards replicating them.

She also called on other stakeholders to support the clubs as they campaign against early sex.

Mr James Gunu, District Chief Executive (DCE) said a Gender-Desk has been established at the Assembly while sensitisation is going on for commercial motorbike operators and artisans as part of the drive to curb early sex among pupils.

He said male offenders would face stiff punishment while the Guidance and Counseling Desk at the District Education office would be strengthened.

The DCE said the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty programme, has been rolled out in more poverty endemic areas in the District to reduce poverty, increase school enrolment and health care.

Mr Gunu gave 0302980593 as a hotline for girls to call to alert authorities about any male harassment they face.