Young mothers and pregnant girls on the desk, exams, not doomsday

27Nov 2021
The Guardian
Young mothers and pregnant girls on the desk, exams, not doomsday

AN extensive debate has for several days been experienced in the airwaves in particular, where critics of the move to change policy with regard to pregnancy in schools appear to predominate, while in organised expression, among non-governmental organisations, scarcely is there a voice of dissent.

In other words, the rules against sitting in class while pregnant or returning thereafter, even for exams, were popular with the broad public and unpopular with activists, so there is a question of leadership. Does it amount to just doing what is popular, or rather at times a leader has to show the way, even by listening to ‘adversaries’?

The reason for this opposition is that traditional authoritarian culture, which many parents rely upon to check adventurist inclinations of their daughters for that matter, has been lashed at by the policy change. Now there is a more sympathetic inclination as to a school girl becoming pregnant, especially as in most cases it is due to psychological pressure, from ordinary material wants to growing up urges that prove hard to contain. Those of a different genetic makeup thus appear to be disciplined, while it isn’t the case.

Critics seem to be aware that letting go of this limitation on schooling for a more tolerant attitude in that regard leads to a generally tolerant outlook, and in that sense psychologically uplifts other marginalised groups. They will suffer less visible contempt despite that getting pregnant will not be a plus, and it will always be an issue of opprobrium privately, at family level, but official tolerance shall help to modify attitudes in that regard as well. In addition, mothers’ roles will be uplifted by the change in attitude, as public authorities now acknowledge that what the girls need is support and counseling, not punishment.

Usually mothers have been tolerant when girls become pregnant, whether out of circumstance or really out of habit, while fathers too often maintain traditional intolerance. Many take their religious values or expenditure on the schooling of a child as the reason for ferocity, but closely examined, this view doesn’t hold water. It is in actual fact a negligent attitude, wishing to avoid any further spending on the child, as punishment for her errant ways, which masquerades as breaking rules a father gave, or religious advisers.

So far it isn’t clear what method shall be applied in bringing to fruition a return to school, if it is special schools and exam centres in like manner as repeating of a class or re-sitting an exam or a simple return to school as most NGOs would wish to believe, but which administrators are likely to resist. There is hence grey matter on the edges of the momentous announcement but it is still of major significance, that schools and local government authorities will be looking for ways to accommodate such girls, whether in the same schools or special centres. They aren’t just pushed there but with a conducive learning environment.