General News of Tue, 3 Oct 201732

Free SHS will produce pregnant teenagers - Allotey Jacobs

The Central Regional Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is predicting Ghana may record the high rate of teenage pregnancies following the implementation of free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

Bernard Allotey Jacobs explained that, due to accommodation challenges, many of the young girls have been left on their own in hostels – a situation he described as a recipe for disaster.

Many first-year students of SHS have been left on their own in private hostels after they failed to secure boarding status.

Heads of schools across the country said due to the lack of facilities, they cannot provide all the students accommodation on campus.

Though parents are seen carrying their children luggage in schools still looking for solutions to accommodation challenges, the head masters and head mistresses say they will have nothing to do with hostel issues for fear of being sanctioned by the Ghana Education Service (GES).

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Parents who wish for their wards to be in these schools are left with no other option than to send them to private hostels.

This development Allotey Jacobs on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem programme Tuesday is worrying.

According to him, for a 14-year-old to live alone with boys around, unsupervised and feeds himself, unlike some of his colleagues.

“Teenage pregnancies will increase under this free SHS policy because many of the young girls have been forced to live in private hostels with boys and that is a recipe for disaster. Free SHS after three years will produce teenage mothers” the NDC man bemoaned.

The NDC Central Regional Chairman could not fathom why government did not put in place the needed infrastructure before rolling out the programme.

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He indicated that, many of the first year students are going through immense hardships due to an overflow of students posted to the school due to the Free SHS program.

Though he supports the free SHS policy, Allotey Jacobs said the teething problems are demoralizing and distracting effective learning by the students.

He called on government to as a matter of urgency resolve the issue to “save our girls from early pregnancy”.

Meanwhile, GES had required all school heads submits estimates of thing needed to provide the needed accommodation for the students.

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