“Do not dismiss girls who get pregnant in School”
The Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC), has indicated that every child has the right to education and therefore it will be an infringement on the rights of a girl-child to be dismissed from school when she is impregnated.
The Centre noted that those human rights infringements that existed in the educational institutions in Ghana, particularly at the basic level, was a form of gender based violence, since in most cases the boys who impregnated the girls were however left free to continue their education.
Ms Jamilla Ariori, the Program Manager of the Centre, made the observation at a child rights forum at Afosu in the Birim North District on Friday.
She indicated that the law on child protection frowned on any form of discrimination, especially based on gender.
Mrs Ariori said the constitution clearly stipulated that every child had the right to education and therefore in the case of pregnancy, “it must be a choice for the victim to decide to stop or continue schooling and not the school to dismiss her”.
She explained further that the constitution guaranteed protection to all children under the ages of 18 years and so any child below that age could not be held responsible for any act except under the Juvenile Justice Act, which took care of commensuration punishments for such children.
Mrs Ariori said under the Juvenile Act, the law was still clear on education that a girl child could not be prevented from schooling on the basis of pregnancy and added that people who impregnated children less than 18 years must be brought to book and not the other way round.
Ms Adwoa Yeboah Boateng, a lawyer with the HRAC, said the constitution guaranteed the right to life, dignity, respect, health and education and that at no point shall it be subjected to any form of punishment or discrimination.
She said every child had the right to equal education opportunities and facilities and that the trend to dismiss girls who were pregnant from school contradicted the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) policy.
Some teachers at the forum however raised concerns that allowing pregnant girls to be in school would serve as a bad influence on the others hence the dismissal and urged the HRAC to rather advocate that girls should stay clear of sex to enable them to continue their education.