The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has proposed a raft of measures that it wants the State to implement in the wake of increased teenage pregnancies.
Kuppet Secretary-general Akelo Misori said the government should establish special schools and rescue centres for teenage mothers.
“The special schools should be mainstreamed to cater for young mothers who experience challenges whenever they resume studies in regular schools,” he said.
According to Misori, the schools will go a long way in tackling discrimination against school-going mothers who often face stigma from their fellow students.
Mr Misori noted that establishing such schools for teenage mothers should not be misinterpreted to mean they are being isolated from other students but to encourage them to continue being in school.
“In many cases, the teenage mothers resort to abortion, which also caries grave risks including death, loss of childbearing capacity among other long term effects,” he said.
The Kuppet official further wants the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs to explore the costs of establishing at least one borstal institution per county to deal with child offenders.
Borstal institutions are juvenile correctional facilities for boy offenders between ages 15 and 17.
Kuppet chairman Omboko Milemba added that the government must make a deliberate effort to protect the girl-child.
“Parents have the responsibility of looking after their children, the current pandemic has exposed how parents have neglected their duty to teach their children on morality,” he said.
Mr Misori also faulted teachers for not supporting the sexual health reproductive bill that is in parliament. He maintained that the current curriculum on life skills addresses the required sex education.
Kuppet also wants quality assurance and curriculum support officers to be empowered to enforce guidelines for the location of schools concerning bars, clubs, trading centres and other institutions not compatible with the education of children.
Meanwhile, Interior Cabinet Secretary on Monday held a meeting with the National Crime Research Centre team to discuss strategies on curbing teenage pregnancies.
This follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to prepare an advisory on escalating cases of gender-based violence and violation of children’s rights.
He also met women leaders under the auspices of the National Gender and Equality Commission and the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association on the same. They advocated for a grassroots-up approach that will have matriarchs of good character embedded in Nyumbani Kumi-like structures.
The matriarchs would be providing guidance and counselling to children in both the rural and urban setting. The women leaders also expressed need to have stronger tracing mechanisms for the evidence trail, especially for repeat offenders.