Liberia: Education Minister Warns Female Students to Protect Themselves From Untimely Pregnancy

Monrovia — Minister of Education Professor Ansu Sonii has warned female students to protect themselves from untimely pregnancy while having a long stay-home break due to the novel coronavirus.

Speaking at the Ministry of Information's special press briefing Monday, August 3, the Minister warned that girls who will get pregnant will have no classroom to sit in. He added that girls have no basic right to get pregnant once they protect themselves.

"I am a father; if you decide to have sex with no condom, you could get pregnant. I am not talking about people who are raped, I am talking about people who take out their clothes willingly," Dr. Sonii said.

"Generally, let talk to the young girls, you don't have to get pregnant at all. Because If you have to do man business, buy your condom. So, if the boy is careless before he touches you show him your condom.

"Because he does not gets pregnant, he continues with his school and he stops you because you agree to take out your cloth."

Minister Sonii comments come amid concerns that there many school-going girls are becoming pregenant as the pandemic keeps schools closed.

The Ministry of Education in late July 2020 announced the reponing of schools for additional levels from 6th grade to 11th grade. The reopening is aimed at first completing the end of the Academic Calendar for 2019/2020 and the preparation for the new academic year 2020/2021. The admittance of students into physical school will be implemented in phases with 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th graders beginning and to be followed by 10th and 11th graders.

Our Education is Under Attack

Meanwhile, Professor Sonii says it's better to take the risk to reopen schools around the country amid the pandemic than to wait for the unexpected end of the virus.

It has been more than a month now since schools around the country reopened to only senior students to ensure they prepare for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) slated for August 17.

"The young people that will drop out of school and not come back will be too much. Imagine a young man who is in nine or eight grade decides to ride a motorbike and begin to enjoy the fruits of it, he is unlikely to come back. If a girl gets pregnant, she is unlikely to come back to school," Prof. Sonii said.

"That suggests that our education is under attack, significantly. The development of the people is under attack. So it better we take health risks."

According to Prof. Sonii, the Ministry of Health has not given the MOE a total go-ahead to reopen schools but the Ministry has decided to take the risk.

"So we have two risks, risk number one is the health risk, risk number two is folks dropping out of schools and increasing the illiteracy risk and making sure that the country advances very slowly as development is concerned," he said.

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