from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – PREGNANT adolescent girls in nearly one-third of African countries face significant legal and policy barriers to continuing their formal education.
This is overshadowing strides made by some governments that now protect education access through laws, policies, or measures for pregnant students or adolescent mothers.
This is according to a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) interactive index and comprehensive compilation of laws and policies related to teenage pregnancy in schools across the African Union (AU).
It details the laws and policies in place, as well as the shortcomings, to protect girls’ access to education.
“Many pregnant girls and adolescent mothers in Africa are still denied their basic right to education for reasons that have nothing to do with their desire and ability to learn,” said Adi Radhakrishnan, Leonard Sandler, fellow in the Children’s Rights Division at HRW.
The official added, “The authorities shouldn’t arbitrarily withdraw girls’ access to education as a punishment for becoming pregnant.”
HRW urged governments to invest in implementation, monitoring, and enforcement of policies at the school level as without such measures, tens of thousands of students across Africa will continue to be excluded.
HRW reviewed over 100 laws and policies relating to education, gender equity strategies, and sexual and reproductive health policies and plans across the AU.
Some 38 out of 54 African countries have laws, policies, or measures that protect adolescent girls’ education during pregnancy and motherhood.
At least ten AU members have no laws or policies related to the retention of students who are pregnant or are adolescent mothers in schools.
– CAJ News