Pregnant students will not be kicked out of school, Bill proposes
Students who get pregnant will not be kicked out of school if a Bill before the Senate becomes law.
However, the Bill might come a little too late for 22 girls at Songoliet Secondary School in Uasin Gishu County, who were this week found to be pregnant.
The Care and Protection of Child Parents Bill, 2016, which also forbids compulsory pregnancy tests, seeks to protect school girls who get pregnant against discrimination.
It also makes termination of their studies difficult.
The Bill is sponsored by Nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro and is likely to be introduced in the House when the Senate resumes next week.
RIGHT TO EDUCATION
It provides that a learner should not be denied her right to education for being expectant. Instead, she should be given adequate support to pursue her dreams.
“Every girl shall have the right to remain in school and receive the necessary support to continue their education and participate fully during their pregnancy or as a parent student,” says the Bill.
No one will force the learner out of school unless they request to leave of their own volition.
School administrators will also be required to ensure that such girls study in a conducive environment devoid of harassment.
“A child shall not be compelled to undergo a medical examination where she refuses to undergo the examination,” says the Bill.
If after a test the results turn out positive, teachers are barred from revealing the results to anyone else, including a student’s parents or guardians.
A school principal who defies the proposed law will risk being jailed for three years or a fine of Sh3 million or both.
“The management of an institution of basic education shall not inform the parents or guardians of a child who, while in the institution, falls pregnant unless the child has been consulted on the matter,” the Bill says.
Once they give birth, they will be given a year off to look after their babies but must be readmitted once the period elapses.
At home, their parents or guardians will be expected to provide maximum care to ensure they recuperate faster in order to return to class.
County governments will be required to build and maintain care centres that will take care of the school girls’ children.
Ms Ongoro said the Bill was necessary in order to prevent stigmatisation in schools owing to pregnancy.