Let pregnant children attend classes: UNESCO

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With a majority of the countries still allowing children to marry, the United Nations has called for banning such marriages and also allowing pregnant children to attend schools. In the ‘Building Bridges for Gender Equality – Gender Report 2019, UNESCO has called for added commitment for protecting the girl’s rights to attend classes even after getting pregnant.

UnThe report notes that pregnancy was identified as one of the key forces of dropout and even their exclusion from secondary schools. UNESCO says that the parents in low income nations take their girl child out of school once they reach puberty to get them married off.  Once they get married, the students face many barriers to their forward education including social stigma and exclusion (forced) from school.

In the report, the UN body says that about 16 million girls aged between 15 and 19 years give birth every year. And in this figure, about two million are under 15 years of age. It has also been reported that girls in low income nations also have the disadvantage of even not having an entry into schools. Afghanistan and Mali are the countries that have been highlighted where such instances have been reported.

Despite boys and girls enter primary school at the same time, a great disparity is seen as time goes by. He report says that one in four nations showed a very high level of discrimination in 2019.

With respect to technical education, the report says that males dominate the area. And in selection of subjects are also gender based, the report says.

Another area that the report looks at is that of teaching. It says that teaching is basically a female profession with male dominated in charges. About 94 per cent of the teachers in the primary sector are females and about half of the percentage of females is seen in upper secondary sector, the report says.

Gender Report 2019 also points out that child domestic labour also forms a large chunk of children who are deprived of education.

With respect to safety in schools, the report states that most of the school environments are not safe. In the report, it has been said that children in many countries are not protected completely from corporal punishment in school.  It is even prevalent in countries where such practise is banned by law. It notes that India, where school going children are protected by law, about 65 per cent of them are physically punished by the teachers.

Another serious thing that is being explored in the report is about violence in the schools. The report says that the government, teachers and students have a major part to play in creating a peaceful atmosphere in school. In sexual violence also, the report states that the authorities and the schools have a major role to play. Comprehensive sexuality education should be made part of the curriculum, it says.

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