Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Expelled pregnant girls back at school in S.Leone

04 March 2016, 08:30

Freetown - A group of 5,000 girls who were expelled from schools in Sierra Leone for getting pregnant during the Ebola crisis have returned to the classroom, the education ministry said on Thursday.

All schools were closed from June 2014 to April 2015 in Sierra Leone as part of government efforts to curb the spread of the Ebola virus, which killed almost 4,000 people in the country.

But when they reopened in April 2015, girls were assessed using invasive methods to check if they were pregnant or had recently given birth.

Kadie, in her third year of secondary school in the south of the country, told AFP: "My breasts were lumped together to find out whether they contained milky substances before I was allowed to continue my tuition."

It pupils were found to be expecting or had become mothers, they were given the choice of attending temporary alternative classes funded by the British and Irish governments.

As a result many girls missed exams to gain entrance to higher secondary school, university or college.

Education Minister Brima Turay said the girls, some of whom were still in the primary system when they became pregnant, were readmitted in January after being banned from mainstream schooling for being a "negative influence" on others.

Also read: Diamond exports in Ebola-hit Sierra Leone plummet in 2015

"They started during the school year in January but we were watching their performance before this disclosure and I am pleased to report that it has been outstanding and over our expectation," he told AFP.

The authorities said last year the girls were expelled "to avoid other girls from following the example of becoming pregnant while attending school", as it "would set a bad precedent which runs alien to the country's cultural values".

An outcry ensued, with the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone calling the exclusion of pregnant girls from mainstream educational institutions "discriminatory and stigmatisation".

Sallimatu, 13, who spoke to AFP by phone from Bo, Sierra Leone's second largest city, said she was happy to have returned to school, adding that the stigma attached to teenage pregnancy made her determined to work hard at her studies.

The government will contribute to some of the girls' school fees for two years along with some living costs, the ministry said, partnering with charities to keep class sizes down as the girls re-enter the system.

Some girls, however, will not be returning.

Janet who got pregnant in the capital of Freetown aged just 11, said she had given up on mainstream education.

"I am done with schooling. I fear going back to be harassed by friend and foe alike. I rather nurse my year-old baby and look to what life can do for me," she said.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...