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Sierra Leone: Ban on pregnant school girls overturned

30 March 2020 at 23:49 | 1497 views

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh (photo), on Monday March 30 announced that the government of Sierra Leone has overturned a decade old ban on pregnant girls attending school in Sierra Leone.

"We overturned this decision by the last government because President Bio’s ’New Direction’ Government believes in data and evidence-based policy decision making. We will also develop policies for Radical Inclusion and Comprehensive Safety for all learners," Sengeh said.

Meanwhile Amnesty International, has issued the following statement on the development:

“Today (Monday) we have cause to celebrate as thousands of pregnant girls across Sierra Leone will be allowed back into classes nationwide when schools reopen after COVID-19.

“This inherently discriminatory ban which was formalized for almost five years now has already deprived too many young women of their right to education, and the choice as to what future they want for themselves. It has now rightly been consigned to the history books.

“Indeed, pregnant girls are given back their dignity and we welcome the government announcement to overturn with immediate effect the ban on them attending school. It’s a victory for all those who campaigned tirelessly to make such a great change happen.

“We now hope that authorities in Sierra Leone will develop strategies to address the negative societal attitudes and stigmatization that pregnant girls have been facing for years. This decision gives also hope to other pregnant girls in Africa who have been stigmatized, discriminated against and, in some countries, also banned from school.”

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