Primary school pupils must be allowed access to health services like condoms because children as young as 12 years of age are engaging in sex and are dying from illegal abortions, HIV and early pregnancies, Movement for Democratic Change legislator Ruth Labode says.
Labode, who is a medical doctor and was at one time a provincial medical doctor, said this after Education Minister Lazarus Dokora said 4 500 pupils could not write Grade 7 examinations because they had either gotten pregnant or married.
Dokora did not give a breakdown of how many girls got pregnant or how many boys left school to get married.
“I am very much concerned about the 4 500 pupils that did not get to Form 1. A Form 1 child, for me, is aged around 12 years or 13 years, but what has happened here, these children were indulging in sex and this is confirmed by the Demographic Health Survey,” Labode said after Dokora’s ministerial statement on Thursday.
“The Demographic Health Survey has just come out and it is confirming what you are saying, that children are engaging in sex as early as 12 years of age and they are dying from illegal abortions, they are dying from HIV, they are dying from early pregnancies, from a lot of things. For me, it raises a policy issue. What should we be doing Hon. Dokora? There is an issue here.
“Yesterday I was in a workshop where the youth told me plain and simple that we are having sex, can you get real and save our lives. What should we be doing?
“We should allow these children to access health services; everything else that you access from the condom to everything. Let them access it because they are dying.”
DOKORA’s MINISTERIAL STATEMENT
2016 GRADE 7 RESULTS AND ENTRY INTO FORM ONE IN 2017
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA): Thank you Hon. Speaker. I wish to make a Ministerial Statement on the 2016 Grade 7 results. I wish to underscore that we wish to make a Statement on the Grade 7 results and entry into Form 1 in 2017.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would like to inform the august House that the November 2016 Grade 7 national examinations were released and the total candidature for 2016 was 329 549 compared to a 329 217 for 2015. Of the 329 549 candidates who sat for the Grade Seven 2016 examinations, 167 333 (50.78%) were female and 162 183 (49.21%) were male.