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OCHO RIOS, St Ann — The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) has called on the Government to give its full support to the Women's Centre of Jamaica, to help pregnant girls reintegrate in the education system.
Newly installed president of the JTA Dr Mark Nicely said yesterday that no public school is equipped to serve a pregnant student and that the reintegration process should include the continued use of the Women's Centre of Jamaica.
"No public educational facility in Jamaica has a maternity ward; none has a resident gynaecologist; more than half of our public schools do not have a nurse, none has an ambulance assigned to the school and none has a cadre of midwives attached to the school. No teachers' college provides training in treating a pregnant teen.
"I call on Government to act responsibly by giving the full support to the Women's Centre, to assist the girls to get a second chance and to get support for the baby," he told the association's annual conference now underway in this St Ann resort town.
Dr Nicely said the JTA believes girls who get pregnant in school deserve a second chance. He, however, stated that there should be a process by which this is done.
He said the first step should be for the guidance counsellor to report the teen's pregnancy to the Ministry of Education, which should then send in a social worker to held the teenager.
"The social worker should facilitate the enrolment of the teen into the Women's Centre and monitor the said teen until she delivers the baby, and assist the said teen with babysitting arrangements.
"Once the teen is stabilised, the social worker must liaise with the Ministry of Education and the school to have the teen reintegrated into the school where the guidance counsellor will continue to monitor and counsel the student, who by now would be on a path to academic recovery with an outlook for a successful future," said the JTA head.
He made it clear, however, that the JTA would continue to advocate for "education first and pregnancy later".
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