Published On: Tue, Oct 25th, 2016

Tension!! Equatorial Guinea: Education Ministry Bans Pregnant School Girls From Continuing With Studies

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Equatorial Guinea’s education ministry has adopted a controversial rule which requires school girls to take pregnancy tests before enrollment, and if pregnant, the girls will not be allowed to continue with their studies.

He disclosed that this special measure was necessitated by the high numbers of teenage pregnancy and the new rule is meant to encourage schoolgirls to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies.

However, human rights groups have also weighed in on the debate, criticizing the country for violating the fundamental right to education.

Meanwhile, equatorial Guinea is not the first African country to adopt the controversial policy. Last year, Sierra Leone adopted a similar measure banning pregnant girls from sitting for their examinations. The policy was heavily criticised by rights organisations.

Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher, Sabrina Mahtani, said  “Excluding pregnant girls from mainstream schools and banning them from sitting crucial exams is discriminatory and will have devastating consequences. Education is a right and not something for governments to arbitrarily take away as a punishment”.she said.

Critics of Equatorial Guinea’s controversial new rule have continued to voice their disapproval on social media, calling on the government to rethink the policy, advising that the education ministry should rather implement policies which protect the rights of girls.

Instead of punishing pregnant school girls, there is need to acknowledge adolescent sexuality by all stakeholders including educators to ensure the provision of comprehensive sexuality education and protection to adolescent girls, who are both in and out of school.

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