I totally disagree with the new law, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is planning to set up in rescue of young girls who are expelled from school because of pregnancy.
According to a clause in this law, schools will be banned from expelling pregnant students from school. The law will also compel member states of the East African Community (EAC) to not only record pregnancies occurring among adolescents but also offer opportunities and facilities to girls who get pregnant before completing their primary and secondly education to complete their studies.
By setting up such a law, I know the EALA means well but won’t such a law support immorality and create insolence among students. It is written in the Bible that, ‘spare the rod and spoil the child.’ When you start giving a leeway to children who misbehave and they go unpunished, what kind of message are you sending?
Lenience implies that it’s not a forbidden act for a young girl to engage in fornication. Therefore, if a girl can get pregnant and continue with school, how then will other girls and boys fear and resist immorality.
Expelling a girl who has gotten pregnant from school has always been a disciplinary act. It was done in order to instill fear to other students and institute discipline, which, always worked.
When I was in secondary school, we girls were always forced to go for abrupt pregnancy checks once in a month. This exercise always kept girls in check simply because once a girl was discovered to be pregnant; not only was it announced to the whole school, she was also expelled. With such humiliation, no other girl would dare to engage in sex except a stupid one. That’s how schools saved majority of girls from early pregnancy. Even when a girl knew all about sex, such a disciplinary act instilled fear in her that it would be difficult for her to be tempted.
Besides being a punishment, expelling a pregnant girl from school saved her from being a spectacle of shame. This is exactly what will happen when we start inviting pregnant students in schools. Not only will they be ridiculed by teachers for misbehaving but they will also be teased or bullied and shunned by their fellow students. And we all know the psychological effects of teasing and bullying is stress and depression.
So, do you think that such a girl will be able to perform well in her studies? And what about her pregnancy, do you think she will fare well with stress and depression being her close companion? I don’t think so.
I don’t want you to get me wrong by saying the above; I am not implying I am against girl child education. On the contrary, I am one of those who condemn parents who deny their daughters the right to education after delivering their babies simply because they feel their daughters wasted school fees when they dropped out of school due to pregnancy.
I highly recommend girls who have given birth to be taken back to school by their parents given that they are still young and their future bright but when it’s during pregnancy, I totally disagree for the reasons I gave earlier.
Besides that, such a girl with a big responsibility of becoming a mother and her emotions in disarray needs to be counseled first before she goes back to school. Many of them resist returning to school because they feel shame and are not ready to face the world outside their compounds.
This is why I recommend we suspend the law. When it comes to a pregnant girl, a lot of patience is required for the good of her health and that of her baby. We need to wait till she delivers before we convince her to go back to school.
Otherwise, if we encourage pregnant students to remain in school, we shall find ourselves with a class full of pregnant girls given that it’s no longer wrong to get pregnant when schooling.