…as 80 adolescent mothers graduate from MoE re-integration programme
Eighty adolescent mothers graduated from the Carnegie School of Home Economics in the areas of elementary cake and pastry making and general cosmetology. The courses ran for a 21 hour period and are intended to provide a platform from which the young girls can have a second chance.
In addressing the graduation exercise, Minister of Education Dr The Hon. Nicolette Henry challenged the young mothers to “be all the best you can be”.
Further, Dr Henry opined that the day’s event signifies the young mothers' determination to become strong independent parents and by extension responsible adults that will contribute meaningfully to the upbringing of their children and the development of society. The girls were reminded that the onus is now upon them to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during their course of study.
Candidly, the Education Minister said that “for a very long time we as a country did not provide appropriate educational opportunities for our adolescent mothers”. Towards this end, she said the Government of Guyana is cognizant of the girls’ right to quality education both as a constitutional requirement and a legal obligation.
Minister Henry said that pregnancy among adolescent girls is a significant issue globally with approximately eight million girls becoming pregnant annually and is often considered a major impediment in the elimination of gender disparities in education.
UNICEF Education Specialist, Ms Audrey Rodrigues said that the present accomplishment will ensure that opportunities can be easily accessed.
Rodrigues noted that the newly acquired knowledge will in a large way ‘put the mothers on the road to soaring into a successful life.They were encouraged to continue to learn. She said that despite they may have had some setbacks and disappointments, it is hoped that they learnt that negative experiences teach us truths about ourselves. It is against this background that the adolescents were cautioned that they should desist from complaining and or comparing themselves with others.
The young ladies were also encouraged by the Deputy Chief Education Officer (DCEO) Ms Ingrid Trotman and the Principal of Carnegie Ms Myrna Lee. Each graduate was given a start-up kit to ensure they are able to continue what they have learnt.
The Ministry of Education is currently finalizing plans to roll out similar programmes in region six, Bartica, Lethem and Mabaruma.