Education officials in the Central Tongu District of the Volta Region, say they are overwhelmed by the rise in teenage pregnancy cases among JHS students in the region.
The district has 135 schools spread among along eight circuits. Out of seventeen schools in four circuits sampled in a survey, seventy nine cases of pregnant school girls were recorded. These girls whose ages range between thirteen and sixteen were impregnated within the months of September 2013 and March 2014.
The District Girls Education Officer for Central Tongu Doris Day Ayita has attributed the situation to irresponsible parenting.
“Some of them have no parents to care for them. Their parents are staying far away from them and they have rented rooms for them to stay on their own in the bigger towns to attend school there. Some of them have parents living with them but lack of parental control and irresponsible parenting is what is causing all these things,” she ascribed.
She told Ultimate Radio’s Volta Regional Correspondent Emmanuel Atukpa, that the district was working at forming neighborhood watchdog committees to police the girls to control the situation.
“I called on the community members and the chiefs and we held meetings and arranged that we will form watchdog committees in the various communities visited to plan and check the children in the night and in public gatherings,” she stated.
Madam Ayita told Ultimate Radio, the group will also be named community based facilitators charged with the responsibility to plan on ways to prevent teenage girls from indulging in promiscuous activities.
The District Chief Executive of the Central Tongu District, Theodora Ama Agbenyenu, is equally worried about the situation. She has blamed the situation on the lack of Junior high schools in the villages, forcing students to travel long distances to attend school in the urban centers.
“It is very alarming and disheartening and the issue is that when the students finish class six in their villages, they are sent to the town and left on their own to attend the JHS. It is then that peer pressure comes into play to plunge them into such situations” she lamented.
Mrs. Agbenyenu believes the situation can be curtailed if students live and attend schools closer to their parents. She is calling for support from Non Governmental Organizations and philanthropists to help the community set up Junior High Schools in the villages.