Two teachers have been suspended from schools in the region following accusations they have impregnated pupils. Officials fear that girls will be discouraged from studying, worsening the country’s already dire record on female education and literacy.
The State Ministry of Education in Aweil warned that the cases violated girls’ right to education.
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[part 6]The teacher in Aweil West impregnated two girls,” Director for General Education Jok Aleu said, adding that the incident is part of a broader problem in the region.
Fewer girls attend school in South Sudan than anywhere else in the world. Some parents are moving away from traditional beliefs that girls should generate a dowry payment, rather than pursue education, but fears about the risk of pre-marital sex may halt the emergent trend.
Aleu urged parents to push for action on the issue, to boost publicity of such cases. The accused teachers have been suspended for three months without pay and a disciplinary committee will investigate the cases, he said.
The teacher in Aweil west has decided to accept one of the girls he impregnated but rejected the other one, Aleu said.
Men impregnating school girls could face up to seven years in prison.
Men impregnating school girls could face up to seven years in prison, said regional Director General at the Ministry of Education Caesar Atem Biajo. He added it was up to the parents to take the case to court.
And if a girl is pregnant she is given the chance to go and give birth and leave the child at home and then resume the school. Then we write a recommendation to the parents so that that teacher can be taken to the court and given seven years in prison,” he said.
Meanwhile, officials complain that teenage girls are forced out of school by marriage. According to UNICEF, fewer than one percent of girls complete primary education in South Sudan and only one schoolchild in four is a girl.