Family life programme to focus on reducing teen pregnancies
Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
The Education Ministry says the health and family life education programme will be bolstered to give special focus on reducing teen pregnancies in Jamaica.
Statistics from the Registrar General's Department show that approximately 3,000 girls, 17 years and under, account for 18 per cent of all live births per year.
There are approximately 45,000 children in that age cohort.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Elaine Foster Allen says it is important that the message is about prevention rather than cure.
She says due to the intervention programmes of the Government, the percentage of girls, who fall out of the education system due to pregnancy, has been reducing over time.
The strengthening of the programme is one of several strategies being undertaken by the administration as part of its National Policy on Reintegrating School-aged Mothers into the Formal School System.
The policy, which becomes effective September this year, aims to ensure that all adolescent mothers are able to complete their formal education.
It will be mandatory for all school-aged mothers to be reintegrated into the formal school system.
Other key elements of the policy include the automatic referral of all pregnant girls to the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation and monitoring of adolescent mothers to ensure they complete their education.
The health and family life programme is also to reflect further changes regarding instructions on sexuality after the withdrawal of a section last year following public outcry over the inclusion of homosexuality and other sexual activities.
The education ministry has admitted that there were breaches in the approval process for the manual.
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