The Ministry of Education statistics on reported pregnancies among Primary and Secondary School girls in 2018 placed the Counties of the former Western Province as the epicentre of the scandalous incidents of school pregnancies. Bungoma County was top nationally with 280 primary school girls and 811 Secondary School girls. Kakamega County followed second with 209 primary school girls and 811 secondary school girls. Busia County had 21 primary school girls and 74 secondary school girls, Vihiga recorded zero primary school girls pregnancies and 39 secondary school girls with pregnancies. Neighbouring Trans Nzoia County recorded Zero primary school pregnancy and 508 secondary school pregnancies.
West FM is persuaded the statistics released by the Ministry of Education may not be 100 percent accurate and there were cases that may have been missed or been unreported.
The school going girls affected are all children, under our law, below the age of 18. The law, The Sexual Offences Act makes it a criminal offence for an adult person to have sex with a child. It can be argued that over 90 percent of the schoolgirls’ pregnancies are initiated by adults in society. The question that the Ministry of Education school girls pregnancy report does not reveal is who were the persons who caused the pregnancies and how many of them were prosecuted as per the law for the crimes committed?
The National Government, County Directors of Education must come forward and state who were behind the high cases of pregnancies in the region and what action has been taken against them. For if nothing drastic is done the situation will get worse with more school girls getting pregnant instead of pursuing education in each passing year.
We must further answer the question what causes these school girls to indulge in and be trapped in the early sex quagmire? Is it lack of parental care? Is it the lure of material things? Is it that our society has become sexually promiscuous through cultural practices like disco ‘matangas’? Is it lack of sex education, is it a breakdown of our cultural heritage and being overwhelmed by external cultures?
Make no mistake worldwide all societies are aspiring for a better life for the next generationand the commanding mechanism of achieving that aspiration is education. We must not as a region condone, accept as normal the unacceptable barbaric practices of children being impregnated by adult men. Children cannot be again made to bear children. It is untenable. It is unacceptable.
Elected leaders, religious leaders, the Teacher Unions, parents associations must stand up to shame and have prosecutedin criminal courts the school girl’ssexual pests in our region to deter others following that route. The County Women Representatives of the region the ball is equally in your court to move from rhetoric, verbal threats against the sex pests preying on the regions school girls to concrete, visible demonstrable preventive action to stamp out completely the menace of school girls pregnancies. Parents and schools must actively empower our school girls with know-how of delayed self-gratification in matters sex and other material allures.
It is equally critical to evaluate what problems that the boy child faces in sexuality just as the girl child. Are any of the pregnancies caused by boys below 18 years? If so how do you handle that challenge? Education remains the most important tool to transform the region as elsewhere in the world and any obstacles to delivery of quality education must be tackled expeditiously and boldly. The challenge is on all of us to get rid of all road blocks that undermine our children’s ability to get the optimum education. Schoolgirl’s pregnancy in our region is a shame that must be eradicated ruthlessly. Parents who condone it must face the full force of the law.