The goal of this policy is to advance the prevention of adolescent pregnancy and the management of the reintegration of adolescent mothers into the formal school system. This will ultimately help to reduce the number of pregnancies among school-age girls and increase the number of adolescent mothers who re-enter the formal school system to complete their secondary education.
The Right to Education
Education is a human right acknowledged in several international Conventions as a “multiplier right”; essentially as it creates an avenue to realize other human rights. To achieve this right and the objectives of Guyana Vision 2030 that will positively impact the lives of adolescents and their families, it is imperative that a policy is put in place to address the problem of adolescent pregnancy and school-age mothers.
The right of every Guyanese child to basic quality education is both a constitutional requirement and a legal obligation as a signatory to several International Agreements. Notwithstanding that fact, in practice, pregnant girls of school-age and adolescent mothers are denied an opportunity to realize that right by being excluded from the education process upon detection of pregnancy; a decision that has a significant impact on their lives and that of their children. Even though there is no national law, school-based policy or regulation that explicitly requires the expulsion or exclusion of pregnant students or adolescent mothers from continuing their education or re-entering the formal school system the practice still exists. Hence, there is a need for this National Policy on the Reintegration of Adolescent Mothers into the Formal School System.
Policy Aim and Key Sections
The aim of the Policy is to outline the process that will facilitate the reintegration of adolescent mothers into the formal school system and the conditions under which the re-entry should take place. However, the onus will be on the adolescent girls and their families to decide if and when they will take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the Policy.
The Education Act does not address the issue of “exclusion”. When a pregnancy is detected, steps shall be taken to ensure that the pregnant student is provided with the necessary support during that period of pregnancy. The focus after delivery is to encourage the adolescent mother to continue her education as soon as circumstances permit. The required support systems and services shall be in place to guarantee the safety and well-being of the infant and the adolescent.