Multi-sectorial collaboration needed for reintegration into schoolsadmin January 12, 2020 0 COMMENTS
Teenage mothersTo successfully facilitate adolescent mothers into a formal school setting, there must be partnerships among Ministries and the Private Sector for additional benefits. This was among one of the recommendations made by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) after the completion of the Policy for the Reintegration of Adolescent Mothers into the Formal School System.While the policy was documented with the necessary information to address the idea of young mothers, the statement called for collaborations with the Education Ministry, the Public Health Ministry and the Social Protection Ministry with Private Sector entities.“There is need for highly coordinated operational partnerships among the relevant Government agencies and Private Sector organisations providing support services to adolescent parents and their children. Clear operational procedures for programme delivery to include social welfare programmes, referral and tracking shall be established. This will maximise efficiency and impartiality in the delivery of programmes.”According to the findings, increase emphasis should be placed on Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) since little attention is given to those areas.“A strong recommendation is being made for the teaching of HFLE in schools, with the inclusion of an ASRH component in the curriculum for Grades Nine and 10. To achieve this, the concern of teacher and parental resistance to addressing ASRH issues in schools needs to be addressed.”Meanwhile, it was recommended by the researchers that the counselling programme be strengthened in the school’s system and annual programme be provided to these teachers.They suggested that, “All education-sector staff, but in particular those responsible for the counselling and support of pregnant school girls and adolescent parents should be benevolent, empathic, accepting, competent and self-motivated. Designated teacher-counsellor should be trained to provide special guidance and support to those who are most at risk, troubled and vulnerable.”Additionally, while there have been modifications in the legislative framework for the protection of children and their rights, the study reveals that there is still a disconnection that lies between law and practice.“Notwithstanding these achievements in legislative reform, there is still a disconnection between law and practice which needs to be addressed if the reintegration policy is to be successfully implemented,” UNICEF stated.Suggestions were also made for the policy to be reviewed every four years to coincide with the Education Strategic Plan. There, reviews and recommendations would be made for the application and administration of the policy to a reintegration committee, which will be spearheaded by the Education Ministry.Less than a week ago, the newly introduced policy was handed over to the Ministry after the one-year study was completed by representatives from UNICEF.This was in light of the fact that in 2015, studies indicate that some 3712 girls were reported pregnant while in 2016, a total of 3032 were recorded. In both cases, the age range was between 15 to19 years. That accounts to more than 6000 cases in just two years, which placed Guyana at second ranking on the list of the teenage pregnancy cases in the Caribbean and Latin America.