The prohibition was introduced back in 2015 after the Ebola outbreak. According to the news, several school girls were pregnant by the time school was reopened due to the infection. In December, the West Africa court says there is a lot of girls’ discrimination, and they deserve to enjoy their human rights. Today, teenage pregnancy is a challenging issue in Sierra Leone. In 2015, the United Nations children agency found out that about forty percent of girls in the country get married by the age of eighteen years.
As a result, in May 2018, several rights organizations filed a suit against the Sierra Leone national government. Last year, the court ruled out the school ban saying it denied the girls the right to education. Besides, the court orders the abolishment of parallel learning institutions, set aside for the expectant girls acknowledging it as top discrimination. President Julius Maada says the Ebola outbreak crisis left many girls vulnerable to sexual abuse as they were desperate for money.
Sierra Leone, a free town
Up to date, Sierra Leone follows the traditional society. The reason why many say the beliefs are misogynistic. A good example is former President Ernest Bai, who rejected signing an abortion bill despite the parliament jurisdiction. Several activists say that most of the time, men are concerned about the future of women without taking care of them. At the moment, Female genital mutilation is common, although traditionalists are resisting it. The effort put in place to combat the mutilation faces a lot of challenges as people consider it as foreign cultural interference.
Back in the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the government closed all schools to curb the spread of the disease. Consequently, when schools reopened, more than a thousand girls came back pregnant. Therefore, the government applied the 2010 policy, which did not allow expectant girls in school. They were not allowed to sit for their exams hence forced to go back home. Up to date, most of the Sierra Leone citizens support the 2010 policy.
Several citizens are disappointed by the government rule to let expectant girls back in school. Memunatu Margo, one of the shop-keepers in Freetown, expresses her disappointment in overturning the ban. She says it is not fit for her daughter to continue learning with pregnant girls as it is a bad influence. Furthermore, Memunatu says in case her daughter gets pregnant; she will stay at home until childbirth.
According to David Moinina, the education minister, overturn of the law bases on helping the girl child. He adds that the adjustment passed several consultations as well as proof. As per David, religious leaders, civil society organizations, together with heads of schools, had a solemn talk resulting in the twist of the law.
At the moment, the Corona virus pandemic has called for school closure too. Most of Sierra Leone citizens have learned from the Ebola outbreak, and are ready to deal with the Covid-19 situation. Preventing unnecessary girls’ pregnancies is one of their primary agenda. I call upon all parents to guide and cancel their daughters well during this school break.