Special school for pregnant teenagers
KUALA LUMPUR, 27 July 2010 – The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development is of the view that the proposal to establish a special school for pregnant teenagers by the Malacca State Government is not the best solution to address the issue of baby dumping. Although the proposal is seen as a preventive measure to address the issues of unwed pregnancies and abandoned babies, it must however be studied more carefully to avoid other implications that may adversely affect the children, the families and society.
The proposal to encourage children and teenagers to marry with the support of the State Government will be seen as condoning child marriages. The Ministry is firm on its stand that child marriages should not be encouraged as it is detrimental to the development and well being of the child. Placing the heavy burden and responsibilities of parenthood on young children not only deprives the child of his or her rights to a full and harmonious development but will also affect the child’s psychological, emotional and physical development. Taking into account the physical and mental maturity of a child, what is required are special safeguards and care appropriate to the needs of a child.
Meanwhile, the segregation of teenagers from mainstream education will result in social stigma towards them. The school, moreover, will always be labelled by society as an institution for teenagers who are pregnant out of wedlock.
It is imperative to ensure the teenagers who become pregnant do not lose out on opportunities for the future and must be given a chance to complete their education, as is their right. It is important to recognise that pregnant teenagers are more likely to drop out of school due to the negative perception of society towards them, particularly their peers and school staff.
A more practical solution might be to allow pregnant teenagers to defer their schooling and make arrangements to place them in a new school after maternity leave.
The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development believes that providing education opportunities to pregnant teenagers will avoid the double jeopardy of having become pregnant and losing their right to education, and at the same time circumvent the social exclusion they are likely to face...............................................................................................
For more information, please contact:
Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development
The Protective Environment
Resources - Preventing Teenage Pregnancies