It has now rightly been consigned to the history books. This decision gives also hope to other pregnant girls in Africa who have been stigmatized, discriminated against and, in some countries, also banned from school. It is to be replaced by two new policies focused on the 'Radical Inclusion' and 'Comprehensive Safety' of all children in the education system. President Julius Maada Bio made it clear that his 'New Direction' Government makes decisions based on both evidence and constitutional due process. The ban was formally issued in April during the Ebola crisis.
A second chance at schooling for pregnant teenagers in Ebola-affected Sierra Leone
A second chance at schooling for pregnant teenagers in Ebola-affected Sierra Leone | UNICEF
The decision, announced on Monday, follows a judgment last December by a top regional court that ordered the immediate overturn of the ban, which effectively barred tens of thousands of girls the right to finish their education. The Economic Community of West African States court instructed Sierra Leone to establish nationwide programmes to help pregnant girls return to school. Despite the good news, Sierra Leone is expected to close schools this week in a bid to prevent the transmission of coronavirus, which has now spread to 46 countries across Africa and threatens to create huge challenges for under-resourced health services. Sierra Leone is one of only eight virus-free countries in the continent.
Sierra Leone: Discriminatory ban on pregnant girls attending school is lifted
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This is no ordinary school. Many of the girls and young women like year-old Adama Conteh tell a similar story: living in vulnerable households, the rejection that came with becoming pregnant, and the immediate end to their regular schooling. Visibly pregnant girls are not allowed to attend school in Sierra Leone. During the Ebola outbreak, more than 14, teenage girls became pregnant, including 11, who were in school before the outbreak, according to a study by UNFPA. For adolescent girls who got pregnant during the emergency, there is a high risk that many may not return to school.