Kuppet wants special schools for teenage mothers

A pregnant teenager. PHOTO | FILE

Photo credit: AFP

What you need to know:

  • The report also shows 24,106 girls between 15- 19 are either pregnant or mothers already.
  • In Kenya, most of the underage girls are believed to have been made pregnant by their teenage boyfriends.

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has asked the state to plan for the establishment of special schools for teenage mothers.

Secretary-general Akelo Misori said the ministry should also put up rescue centres for teenage mothers.

“The special schools should be mainstreamed to cater for young mothers who experience challenges whenever they resume studies in regular schools,” he said.

This comes at a height of increased teenage pregnancy cases among schoolgoing children.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, 20,828 girls aged between 10 and 14 have fallen pregnant, according to report by National Council on Population and Development.

The report also shows 24,106 girls between 15- 19 are either pregnant or mothers already.

Machakos County recorded the highest cases of 4,000 teenage pregnancies, Nakuru had 1,748, Kajiado 1,523, Kericho 1,006, Homa Bay 957 and Garissa 901.

Currently, the only rescue centres are in areas where female genital mutilation is rife or in marginal counties.

Mr Misori said over the years the society has discriminated against teenage mothers who often face stigma by their fellow students.

He said establishing such schools for the teenage mothers should not be misinterpreted to mean they are being separated from other students but to encourage them to continue being in school.

Kuppet said teenage pregnancy exposes girls to premature birth, low birth weight, perinatal and maternal deaths.

“In many cases, the teenage mothers resort to abortion, which also caries grave risks including death, loss of childbearing capacity among other long term effects,” said Mr Misori.

In Kenya, most of the underage girls are believed to have been made pregnant by their teenage boyfriends.

Mr Misori said with the increasing cases during the pandemic, the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs should explore the costs for establishing at least one borstal institution per county to deal with child offenders.

Borstal institutions are youth correctional facilities for boy offenders between aged between 15 and 17.

Kuppet chairman Omboko Milemba said the government must make a deliberate effort to protect the girl-child.

“Parents have the responsibility of looking after their children, the current pandemic has exposed how parents have neglected their duty to teach their children on morality,” he said.

Mr Misori said teachers are not supporting the sexual health reproductive bill that is in parliament.

He said the current curriculum on life skills provided through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum development addresses the required sex education.

The union also wants quality assurance and curriculum support officers to be empowered to enforce guidelines for the location of schools concerning bars, clubs, trading centres and other institutions not compatible with the education of children.

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