Study Shows Only 20% of Sierra Leonean Girls Remain in School After Giving Birth
President Julius Maada Bio and Education Minister David Moinina Sengeh stated on 30th March, 2020, that the school prohibition against pregnant girls and adolescent moms, which had been in effect since 2010, has been lifted.
However, recent study has shown that despite the lifting of the decade long ban only 1O%-2O% of already married adolescent girls remain in school after giving birth.
According to Save the Children’s “My Body. My Decision My Rights: Reducing Child Early And Forced Marriage In Sierra Leone” baseline research despite the National policy of radical inclusion in schools; which allows pregnant girls to continue schooling, most girls dropout after giving birth because there is no one else available to care for the child or take on household duties.
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“School attendance is much lower among married adolescent girls with only 18.3% of married girls who remain in school, prior to any school closures due to COVID 19.”
Data shows that “the primary reasons for school drop-out is due to financial barriers 56.1% and half of married adolescent girls 54.5% dropped out because of early pregnancy or marriage.” it also shows that out of school girls are more at the risk of family pressure to get married and girls who are already married or pregnant are at a much higher risk of dropping out.
This outcome entrenched gender norms and roles and put the responsibility for childcare and household duties almost exclusively on the shoulders of married girls, with limited to no participation by male partners.