Sierra Leone Lifts Ban On Pregnant Girls Attending School

In 2015, a rise in rape, abuse, and poverty during the deadly Ebola outbreak fueled a spike in teenage pregnancies. Consequently, a ban on pregnant girls going to school was introduced in Sierra Leone.

The ban was overturned on Monday, March 30, following a five-year fight spearheaded by human rights activists.

While the government insisted that pregnant girls will be stressed out with attending school, exposed to ridicule and indirectly encourage other girls to get pregnant, critics held that the ban increased stigma and set thousands back in their studies.

READ ALSO: Society for Family Health (SFH) Is Championing Access To Contraceptives For Adolescent Girls | Do You Approve?

A statement which overturned the ban read;

The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education… hereby announces that the ‘ban on pregnant girls attending school’ is overturned with immediate effect. 

“Overturning the ban is the first step in building a radically inclusive Sierra Leone where all children are able to live and learn in safety and dignity.”

Education Minister, David Sengeh further disclosed that the ban will be replaced with two new policies focused on “radical inclusion” and “comprehensive safety” in the education system.

Judy Gitau, Africa coordinator of women’s rights group Equality Now, which worked with the government said the safety policy will include measures to protect girls from sexual violence in schools.

Reuters reported that human rights groups filed a case against Sierra Leone with West Africa’s top court in 2018. The court ruled in their favor in December, saying the ban was discriminatory and violated the right to equal education.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.