Backwards

Sierra Leone barring pregnant girls from completing their educations

Pupils attend a school in the town of Small Sefoda in eastern Sierra Leone. Finbarr O'Reilly/REUTERS

Just last month, Sierra Leone’s government issued a law preventing “visibly pregnant” girls from attending school or even taking their school equivalency exam. Girls rights groups are understandably outraged, calling it a “baffling policy.” “The government says that having pregnant girls in school might have a negative influence on other girls. Show me one girl who saw a pregnant girl and said, ‘I’d like to get pregnant too.’ And in any case, basic education is a right to all, full stop,” said Chernor Bah, a children’s rights advocate in Sierra Leone. These groups are calling on the Sierra Leone government to reverse their ruling, but Scott MacMillan of Brac USA also believes alternatives should be developed in the meantime. In The Guardian, he argues that “we should have the flexibility to work around cultural and legal barriers to girls’ schooling,” by providing those girls with alternatives such as study groups or radio-based education.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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