School Management Committee (SMC) Networks in the Kpandai District in the Northern Region have appealed to the assembly to pass a by-law to jail men who impregnate basic school students in the area.
The Kpandai SMC Networks have also proposed that as part of the by-law any parent who will decline to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to prosecute men who commit such offence should face sanctions.
This move, according to the Kpandai SMC Networks, is aimed at punishing perpetrators of these heinous crimes to act as a deterrent to others who make it a hobby to impregnate young school girls, knowing very well that the girls’ parents will opt for out-of-court settlement to avoid embarrassment.
District education forum
This formed part of decisions taken at a district education forum held at Kpandai by the Kpandai SMC Networks, in partnership with Choice Ghana, a non-governmental organisation.
The forum, attended by stakeholders in education in the district, was to share, discuss and come out with innovative strategies to improve learning outcomes among children in the area and to ensure that no child of school age was left behind. It was also to share findings of a survey conducted in 2018 by the Kpandai SMC Networks, in partnership with Choice Ghana, on factors affecting children’s learning outcomes in the district.
According to the survey, socio-cultural factors such as poverty, early marriages, engagement of children in sexual intercourse, children attending funerals, engagement of children in economic activities, children attending musical shows, among others, were responsible for the low learning outcomes.
Low learning outcomes
A 2016 and 2017 citizen-led assessments on children’s learning competencies in literacy and numeracy in the district, conducted by the Kpandai SMC Networks, in partnership with Choice Ghana, with support from Oxfam, revealed that low learning outcomes among children and the overall competency levels of children stood at 11 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively.
The Chairman of Kpandai SMC Networks, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Issifa, who summarised the position of stakeholders at the forum, said a number of girls were getting pregnant and dropping out of school but there were no sanctions for the men who impregnated those girls, hence the proposal to the assembly to pass such a by-law.
Mr Issifa said the Kpandai SMC Networks would intensify sensitisation programmes in communities on the issue for parents to allow their children, especially the girl-child, to enjoy their full rights to education to ensure that no child of school age was left behind.
Other decisions taken at the forum were to stop children from attending musical shows, as well as intensive sex education for children to know how to protect themselves against pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
The District Chief Executive for Kpandai, Mr Emmanuel Tatablata, appealed to chiefs and community members in the district to support circuit supervisors and teachers as they put in their best to improve education in the area.
The Kpandai District Director of Education, Madam Faustina Nayan, said most schools in the district did not have adequate furniture, leaving pupils to lie on the bare floor during classes.
He added that most of the schools did not also have accommodation for teachers and appealed to the Kpandai SMC Networks to help improve the situation.
The Executive Director of Choice Ghana, Mr Mohammed Seidu, called for effective collaboration between the District Directorate of Education and SMC Networks to promote education in the area.