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Shame and stigma blamed for poor turnout of expectant learners

Stigma and shame associated with teenage pregnancies is to blame for poor turnout of expectant learners in the Nyanza region.

Industrialization Principal Secretary (PS) Dr. Francis Owino said a good number of learners who got pregnant during the long Covid-19 break were yet to report back to school for fear of being victimized and ridiculed.

This, he said, was in contravention of the government’s directive to have all children including those who were pregnant back to school and urged chiefs to work with education officials in the area to ensure the girls go back to school.

Owino who was accompanied by Youth Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Julius Korir to assess the resumption of learning in Kisumu County said so far, 85% and 92% of learners have reported back to primary and secondary schools respectively.

Speaking at Nyakach Girls High School on Monday, the PS said the numbers could hit 100% by the end of the week if the affected girls and other children still out for various reasons were rounded up and taken back to school.

“At one of the schools we visited, a girl who delivered a week ago had already reported and this is what we are encouraging other our girls to do and parents and teachers to support,” he said.

He directed principals and head teachers to set up guidance and counselling desks for the affected girls and their counterparts to end the mockery.

Pregnancy, he said, could not terminate a girl’s education adding that the government would take action against parents still holding onto their children at home.

Kisumu County Director of Education (CDE) Isaack Atebe said all the missing learners have been mapped out.

“We are committed to ensure that all children are in school by the end of this week so that we can concentrate on examinations,” he said.

By Chris Mahandara

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