Forty mothers graduated from the Ministry of Education’s Re-integration of Adolescent Mothers Programme in Region Six, East-Berbice – Corentyne Thursday.
The programme is being executed through the Ministry’s Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) Unit. The 40 young women are now certified in areas of hair braiding, make-up, manicure and pedicure, nail art and henna designs.
Minister of Education Nicolette Henry who was at the graduation exercise said that the re-integration programme is necessary for young women to enjoy their right to an education which will provide the foundation to improve their lives and the lives of their children.
She said that the administrators of education would be derelict in their duties if they did not ensure that girls who become pregnant are given an opportunity to continue their schooling.
Minister Henry noted that previously when an adolescent girl became pregnant, her return to school if considered, was often done at the discretion of the headteacher.
“However, with this policy, the schools are mandated to ensure that the child is reintegrated into the school system using one of the options that are available,” Minister Henry explained.
She added that teenage pregnancy is one of the major challenges standing in the way of girls’ education and their ability to achieve their full potential, especially when the necessary support systems are not in place.
Moreover, the Education Minister said that the goal of the re-integration policy is not only to manage the reintegration of adolescent mothers into the formal school system, but it is also to advance the prevention of adolescent pregnancy.
Regional Executive Officer Kim Stephens during her remarks encouraged the graduates to be the best that they can be.
Executive Director of Family Awareness Consciousness Togetherness (FACT) Annette Jaundoo, said that some of the graduates have already begun to operate their own establishments and offering services to the public.
She said that in addition to the courses offered, the graduates received training in time management, decision making, job readiness over the 15-week period.
She said that the students were able to build bonds and partnerships as they helped each other along the way to the finish line.
Each student received a certificate as well as a start-up kit for their respective field of specialization and a care package. (Extracted and modified from Ministry of Education press release)