– Granger blames education system
Opposition Leader David Granger has blamed the local education system for Guyana being among the Caribbean countries with the highest teenage pregnancy rate.
“The State of World Population 2013,” produced by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), lists Guyana among the six countries of the Caribbean with the highest prevalence of teenage pregnancy.
The others are Belize, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) leader David Granger Speaking to this revelation at a recently held press briefing, expressed that more value based education is needed, since education is not just a matter of “Social Studies, and Mathematics and English.”
“If there is a break down in values and in discipline then the cycle will continue. So , if there is an increase in teenage pregnancies, this will affect the child’s’ education seriously because in most cases, children drop out of schools and they are unable to re-enter the education system and they end up being unemployed with an unfinished education.” Granger posited.
Noting that his party is deeply concerned over the situation, he called on the Ministry of Education to pay more attention to “what is happening to young girls in schools, what’s happening with the young men because there is a lot of delinquency in schools.”
Also speaking to teenage pregnancy at APNU’s press briefing was APNU Member of Parliament (MP) Annette Ferguson who advised the Ministries of Education and Human Services to collaborate to formulate polices to aid young people. “The schools as they currently are, they are lacking social workers and school guidance councilors, so I think the Minister and the People Progressive Party (PPP) government they need to pay more focus where that is concerned.”
The UN report released recently, called on Governments to help girls achieve their full potential through education and adequate health services.
“Too often, society blames only the girl for getting pregnant,” said UNFPA executive director Babatunde Osotimehin.
“The reality is that adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice but rather the absence of choices, and of circumstances beyond a girl’s control,” he added. “It is a consequence of little or no access to school, employment, quality information and health care.”
It also points out that a country’s economy is also affected by teenage pregnancies as adolescent mothers are prevented from entering the workforce.
“The State of World Population 2013,” produced by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), notes that out of the 7.3 million births, 2 million are to girls who are 14 or younger, many of whom suffer “grave long-term health and social consequences from pregnancy.”
The report says that an estimated 70,000 adolescents in developing countries die each year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
The report seeks to offer a new perspective on teenage pregnancy, looking not only at girls’ behaviour as a cause of early pregnancy but also at the actions of their families, communities and Governments.
Besides funding, the report stresses that, in order to tackle teenage pregnancy, “countries must adopt a holistic approach, which does not dwell on changing girls’ behaviour but seeks to change attitudes in society so girls are encouraged to stay in school, child marriage is banned, girls have access to sexual and reproductive health including contraception, and young mothers have better support systems.”
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