Teenage pregnancy is one of the major impediments to the educational success of girls in sub-Saharan Africa because in many cases the birth of a baby marks the end of schooling for the teen mother. Aware of the need to support this group of girls, the Kaduna State Government has initiated a programme designed to return young mothers back to school.
The State Commissioner of Education Ja’afaru Sani who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle of Education said the State is interested in addressing the social and emotional learning needs of these young females. The plan includes identifying their strengths, potentials and goals with the aim of guiding them along career paths that will maximize their ability to function independently as young parents.
The State will provide teen mothers diverse pathways to return to formal schooling at the primary or secondary school levels, or through vocational training.
According to Sani, “At the moment, we have specialized centres that cater for this group of students. Some of them, because they are already married, find it difficult to return to the normal classroom setting. So, we enrol them in centres under the UNFPA for mass literacy.
These centres are designed to equip the young women with all the knowledge and skill set they require in their desired endeavours”.
Some achievements are already being recorded by Kaduna State in its strategy to boost female participation in education.
“In October this year, we were able to return about one hundred married young women back to school. To achieve this, we had to collaborate with UNFPA (The United Nations Fund for Population Activities). Currently, we are working to ensure that another 500 identified young women are returned back to school”, Sani disclosed.
Sani added that “Since when we began this initiative, about 23 of them have sat for WAEC and NECO and had very good grades. They are now processing their admission into tertiary institutions. Also, because some of them have dropped out of school at an early stage, we decided to classify the centres into different stages”.
“To show total commitment, the Ministry now has a department that oversees the affairs of these centres. We have designed the framework of the centres and have a robust monitoring and evaluation team in charge of the programme. In areas where there have been shortfalls, we try to evaluate and re-strategize to develop better approaches”, Sani said.
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