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Teen moms must get an education

By Cecily Asson Wednesday, May 21 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Women's advocate: Senator Raziah Ahmed at a National Commission for Women's Empowerment and Gender Equity talk in San Fernando yesterday....
Women's advocate: Senator Raziah Ahmed at a National Commission for Women's Empowerment and Gender Equity talk in San Fernando yesterday....

EDUCATION must remain the focal point for girls who become pregnant while still in primary or secondary schools, Minister of State in the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development Senator Raziah Ahmed said yesterday.

According to Ahmed, it must be the continued focus for teenagers, if they want to escape the harsh circumstances which tend to follow such an event in their early lives.

It was Ahmed’s response when questioned by the media on allegations made over the weekend by the National Parent Teachers Association about pregnant students.

Ahmed delivered the feature address yesterday at the first in a series of three stakeholders consultations on the establishment of a National Commission for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equity at the City Hall in San Fernando.

She told reporters: “In general, our ministry will work in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to investigate those reports as fully as we can. Our perspective is that children who find themselves in these circumstances, must continue their education and we have to find ways and means of ensuring that they continue their education in order that they could take better care of their children and ensure a family unit that is sustainable and healthy.”

She told Newsday on Monday, the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development met with their heads of department and the matter was discussed.

She further said, “We got some preliminary reports but we still need to ascertain what is the final truth as to the number of girls (involved) and their whereabouts. Education is critical if they are to continue and escape the kind of harsh circumstances that attend young girls who find themselves pregnant.”

Speaking earlier to the packed woman’s forum at City Hall auditorium yesterday, Ahmed stressed the need for the establishment for a National Commission for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equity. She said such commissions are already established in Belize, Canada, India, Pakistan and Guyana to advance the rights and privilege of women.

She said Trinidad and Tobago had previously established the National Commission on the Status of Women which functioned from March 1974 to 1976. Among those who served on the body that was led by chairperson Judge Elizabeth Bourne-Holland, the first female judge in Trinidad and Tobago, was late founder and Editor-in-Chief of Newsday, Therese Mills and Principal Medical Officer, Dr Norma Andrews.

Described as “powerhouses” and “pioneers”, Ahmed said as her ministry forges ahead in their plan to set up another commission, the work of women who went before, must not be forgotten.

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