Thursday, April 17, 2008

TEEN MOTHERS IN TANZANIA AND SCHOOL DROP OUT

T”MANKIND OWES TO THE CHILD THE BEST IT HAS TO GIVE”
PREGNANT AND PARENTING SCHOOL’S GIRLS IN TANZANIA.THEIR RIGHTS AND WELFARE.
1.0 INTRODUCTION
My article will specifically address xxxxx teenage mothers and school drop outs in Tanzania . The Education Act, denies students to proceed with their education after delivery . Expulsion of a pregnant girl from school denies her right to development and also limits her opportunities. The practice of expelling pregnant girls from school happens almost all over the world but currently some of the countries like Malawi, South Africa and Australia have tried to come up with xxxxx policies xxxxx accepting pregnant xxx teenage mothers.

Currently there is a strong debate on when childhood starts and when it xxxx ends. Various laws have defined who is a child according to field of life (context), age of marriage, labour,contracts and rules of evidence. The International convention talks about the rights of a child of 1989 (CRC) and define a child to be below eighteen years

Therefore the question, who is a child, has not yet been answered is a great factor behind child maltitreament and discrimination. It is a truism that a child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care from the community at large and from the statutory regime in Tanzania

Child survival starts at the point when the mother becomes pregnant. The survival of the unborn child depends on the health and nutritional status of the mother and the environment in which she lives . In addition ,the survival of the child after birth is dependent on it receiving all the basic needs xxxxxfood, healthcare and protection from the parents so that it can grow to be a productive part of the community .


Teenage pregnancy is defined in the United States as an under aged girl becoming pregnant. This term refers to women who have not reached the age of legal adulthood, which varies across the world, who become pregnant. However, in the United Kingdom, there is a legal definition whereby a woman is considered to be a pregnant teenager if she becomes pregnant before 18 years of age.

xx As a social issue the impact of teenage pregnancy in developed countries include lower educational levels, higher rates of poverty, and other poorer "life outcomes" in children of teenage mothers. Teenage pregnancy in developing countries is usually outside of marriage, and carries a social stigma in many communities and cultures. For these reasons, there have been many studies and campaigns which attempt to uncover the causes and limit the numberx of teenage pregnancies. In other countries and cultures, particularly in the developing world, teenage pregnancy is usually within marriage .

Studies reveal that pregnant adolescents often face domestic physical violence. Furthermore, parents , partners, and the community within which they live psychologically violate them. Often pregnant adolescents are treated inhumanely and overworked with household chores andxx inadequate food . ManyAdolescents experiencexx stigma and as a result have unsafe abortions.

2. O IMPACT OF EXPULSION FROM SCHOOL

• Teenage mothers are likely not to finish school
• They are less likely to get a job xxx
Young motherhood in a developing country can affect employment and social class. More than three thirds of teenage mothers receive no xxx form of child support, vastly increasing the likelihood of turning to the government for assistance The correlation between early childbearing and failure to complete school reduces career opportunities for many young women. Additionally nearly, 50% of all adolescent mothers sought social assistance within the first five years of their child's life.
One-fourth of adolescent mothers will have a second child within 24 months of the first. The factors that determine which are more likely to have a closely spaced repeat birth include marriage and education: the likelihood decreases with the level of education of the young woman – or her parents – and increases if she gets married.
• Likely to become single parents
• children are at riskx of poor health ,and becoming teenage mothers themselves, thus repeating the cycle.
Early motherhood can affect the psychosocial development of the infant. The occurrence of developmental disabilities and behavioral issues is increased in children born to teen mothers. One study suggested that adolescent mothers are less likely to stimulate their infant through affectionate behaviors such as touch, smiling, and verbal communication, or to be sensitive and accepting toward his or her needs. Another found that those who had more social support were less likely to show anger toward their children or to rely upon punishment.
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• Failure to finish matrix is a major cost to our society and economy. therefore we need to retain xxx pregnant girls in school until they matriculate so that they are able to contribute to economic growth and transformation.
• Increase rate of unemployed among women in our country.
• Put teenage mothers and their children into high riskx of being affected with HIV.
• Increase of prostitutions in town and cities.
• Carrying out an abortion
People talk a lot in the village and it can becomex a problem, causing or leading to an abortion which may lead to death. This happens if one was impregnated while still studying and the man responsible has denied the pregnancy
• They can’t see the father of the child Some are victims of men who have established homes and cannot afford the public shame of having had relations with an adolescent. Therefore, they will not take responsibility.
• Involve into early marriage.
Bad psychological and social consequences due to negative attitudes and harsh treatment they receive from community.
• High mortality rate
Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of mortality among women between the ages of 15 and 19 in such areas. The highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world is in sub-Saharan Africa, where women tend to marry at an early age.
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3.O RECOMMENDATIONS
Pregnant adolescents lack basic needs like shelter, food and security. They also face relational problems with families, partners and the community. There is, therefore, a need to sensitize the community and school personnel about adolescent reproductive health issues. In addition, adolescent friendly services need to be established/strengthened.
Few studies have examined the relationship between early marriage adolescent pregnancy and leaving school.

Two recent population council studies investigate the links between the phenomenon in diverse African settings. Studies looked at several countries in Francophone Africa and in South Africa . xx Periodical journal December 2007, underlies pregnant related school drop outs .South Africa still enrolls pregnant girls and young mothers says Kelly Hillman, the country also supports poor mothers. Australia needs to be our role model on the issues relating to pregnant and parenting students. Australia is rich of good policies on adolescent school mothers.
If xx a girl becomes pregnant while at school the proper solution is not to expel her from school but to suspend her for a period of time for the welfare of the mother and the child. The young mother should be allowed to resume her studies at a later date. .According to CRC preamble, a child should be prepared to live an individual life in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity. .
This is very confussing what you are saying in this entire paragraph I am not sure hereIn 1989 Tanzania ratified the convention affecting the rights of children, a State therefore required to make implementation of these rights of the child in accordance with its domestic laws and other relevant international instruments in this field, being dual system Tanzania needs to enact a law specifically to deal with the right and welfare of a child in Tanzania.
“States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless. “
Therefore inacting a law that expels pregnant girls from school after a teenage pregnant is totally contrary to the principles on the rights and welfare of the child as provided by CRC .These are


• Principle of non-discrimination
• Principle of child survival and development
• Participation
• Best interest of a child
“states Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child”
.”Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures or the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement. “
Therefore the state is required to ensure the rights of every child to include a standard of living adequate for the child, physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. Preventing a teenage mother from resumeing her studies is like subjecting her to physical and mental violence. This has been experienced in countries where xx school girls have been expelled from school after teenage pregnancy and when they are at home the community treaty them harshly, accusing them, with no body to comfort them even the responsible fathers of the of pregnant deney them. This has not only been experienced in our country but in other countries like Kenya ,Malawi, Francophone Africa ,Australia and Uganda. This is an experience of pregnant girls from Wakiso Uganda
According to CRC the right to education is clearly stated as follows:
1. States Parties recognize the rights of children to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:
(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;
(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;
(c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means;
(d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children;
(e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child's human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.
3. States Parties shall promote and encourage international cooperation in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy throughout the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries
Therefore when you read the above article 28 of CRC you can note that the State is committing a great blunder by not having policies regulating the welfare of teenage mothers in relation with their educational rights.28(2) requires a state take punishment in consistent with the child human dignity,
African charter on the right and welfare of a child (1990) provides that a child have the right of survival and development . Expelling a girl from school can endangering her life and life of her child too. The constitution of United Republic of Tanzania article 11(3) also speaks of the right of every child to education
1959 the United Nation General Assembly proclaimed the rights of children by setting ten principles aimed at ensuring that a child may have a happy childhood and enjoy xx his /her own good and good of the society .Principle 7 of 1959 declaration states that a child is entitled to receive an education ,which shall be free and compulsory ,she shall be given an education which will promote her general culture and enable him /her on the basis of equal opportunity to develop her abilities, her individual judgments and her sense of moral and social responsibility and ultimately become a useful member of the society
When writing my recommendations on how to promote, protect the rights and welfare of parenting and pregnant school girlsx I rewarded great attention to the economic level of the individual and the economic level of the country. The great proportion of families affected by this problem of teen motherhood are often faced with great poverty. Therefore, in this regard I suggest suspension xx be the best punishment for pregnant school girls. To supplement my recommendation I put forward the following ideas to be used strategically in suspending pregnant school girls, xxx without infringing on any of their rights..



Optional one
• Pursuant to education system in Tanzania and biological condition of teenage mother, the duration for suspension should be clearly set as to when to start and when to end. The time of commencing suspension and time of recommencing studies are very crucial to the welfare of both morther and her child.
• xxx I recommend that a girl start her suspension when she is six months pregnant or below. This would enable her to have a longer time to care for the infant before she resumes her studies.
• xx I recommend the duration of the suspension be one year out of school.. 3 months at home before delivery and 7 months after delivery.
Optional two
The following recommendation is based on psychological justifications, that pregnant or teenage mothers are habitually psychologically affected xxx after exclusion from school. Even if they resume studies at the same school, they won’t match up well with studies. To cure this I recommend the followingx:
• The whole community should recognize this problem and stop treating them inhumanly .They need to be given great care, love and courage at the family level. xxxxx.
• Suspended pregnant girls should not be returned to the same school to avoid harassment from fellow students
• The country or community based organization should take measures if possible to build independent primary and secondary schools at least one in each zone of our country deliberately to accommodate pregnant and parenting school’s girls.
• To have antidiscrimination policies for schools and the community which pregnant and parenting schoolx girls belong.
• The country education system should also copy some the systems of Queensland xxx Australia stated by its policy of 1999 on parenting students, including flexibility in school policies and practices relating to curriculum design, teaching and learning strategies , assessment ,classroom attendance, and dress code
• Education systems, schools, and school staff have a responsibility to ensure that all steps are taken to maximize the opportunity for pregnant students and young mothers to complete secondary education.
I therefore call up on the ministry of community development, gender and children in collaboration with Tanzania govevernment to see the importance of having an independent policy and law dealing with the rights and welfare of pregnant and parenting school’s girls. We need to have various campaigns through out the entire countryxx to raise awareness among Tanzania’s and to encourage partnerships between education systems, schools and other government and community agencies to increase the rate of school completion among pregnant students and young mothers.













REFERENCES
STATUTES
General Declaration on the Right of the child of 1924
Universal Declaration on Human Right of 1948
ILO Convention no:138 on Minimum Age for Employment and Marriages
Declaration on the Right OF the Child of 1959
International convention on Economic, Social and Cultural right of 1966.
Africa Charter on human and People’s right of 1981
Convention on the Right of a Child of 1989
Constitution of united Republic of Tanzania of 1977 as it has been amended from time to time.
National education act no: 25 of 1978 as amended from time to time
National Education Expulsion and Exclusion of school regulation GN no:130 of 1979
OTHER REFERENCES
Tanzania Law Reform Commission Report of 1994 on the Law Relating to Right and development of a child in Tanzania
Makaramba Robert .”we owe child the best” The Children Rights in Tanzania .

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