School dropouts due to teen pregnancy a concern Dow

The Minister of Education, Skills and Development (MoESD), Unity Dow has expressed great concern over the high statistics of teenagers dropping out of schools due to pregnancy.

Speaking at the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) countries commitment dialogue, Dow called on different stakeholders to come up with creative solutions that would help stop the number of school dropouts.

The dialogue touched on HIV prevention strategies, fostering positive health outcomes, advocating for access to good quality comprehensive sexuality education, and sexual and reproductive health services for young people in ESA. “According to Young People Today, Time To Act Now it is evident that in the ESA region, HIV remains a challenge, especially for adolescents and young people.

As a country, we are also confronted with challenges affecting young people of school-going age,” Dow said.

She announced that MoESD’s Botswana Youth Risk Behavioural Surveillance Survey of 2012 revealed that 19.1 percent of school-going youth were sexually active by age 13.  It also revealed that 9.4 percent were mothers while about nine percent of boys were reported to have impregnated someone. Dow said the prevalence of teenage pregnancy in Botswana was at 9.7 percent as at 2007, and from her schools, reported cases in this quarter, alone which is from January to April 2015, the situation looks grim. Twelve girls from Matshekge Senior Secondary School, 10 from Mmadinare Senior Secondary School, nine at Ghanzi-Senior Secondary School and four from Chobe Junior Secondary have dropped out of school. “From these statistics it is evident that the Selebi-Phikwe/Bobonong Sub-region has been hard hit with girls dropping out of schools due to pregnancy.  That is not just shocking, but sad. The question is, are we really doing enough as the Education and Health sectors, parents and all other stakeholders in preventing these risky behaviours?” she said. Furthermore, Dow explained that her ministry is fast tracking efforts to address the challenges.  She added that Botswana was milestones ahead in the provision of life skills based education explaining that her approach was considerate of content relevance that was age appropriate, accurate and thorough in sexuality education.  This is across all levels of general education through relevant policies and programmes in pre-primary to senior secondary.  “Some of these programmes are Botswana National Life Skills Framework (2010), a guiding document for life skills programmes for pre-primary, primary and secondary school levels for ages four to 18 years.  The guidance and Counselling Curriculum Guidelines/ Syllabi is designed and developed to comprehensively address sexuality education at these different levels both at lower primary, upper primary, junior and senior secondary levels and integration and infusion of sexuality education across the curriculum,” she said.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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