COVID19 School Resumption: Early Marriage and Pregnancy on the Rise
Whispering Hope Africa Initiative (WHAI) was at the Amikwe Community Secondary School in Ayemelum LGA on the 15th day of September to ascertain the situation of students post COVID- 19, as schools are just resuming.
The school principal, Mr Nweke Raymond said that there is no much dropout because the Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA) usually raise money to support the schools. The community crisis with a neighboring community at times makes both the teachers and the student have preference on schools they want to attend and teach.
The population of Senior Secondary (SS) 1 students ranges from 90 to 95 in number but when they get to SS2 and SS3 it reduces from 84 to 53 respectively.
Observation from the school's register shows that in 2019, total number of senior class students was 232 but currently 208, showing that approximately 25 students dropped out of schools for various reasons but mostly due to poverty and early marriage. The school fees ranges between $4 -$7 per term (approx. $20 one academic year). According to the principal, the school is facing the problem of lack of teachers; only 14 teachers to 684 students. The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members usually posted to the school are unable to teach properly. The school also needs to be fenced, because it exposes the students to danger and some easily disappear from the school unnoticed. He said they cannot fence the school on their own because they lack the financial capability.
From the principal's office, WHAI Team went to the senior classes to address and dialogue with the students. The students revealed some of their classmates who recently dropped out from school because of marriage and economical challenge. We congratulated them for making it back to school and implore them to focus on their studies and try as much possible to complete their high hbefore thinking of marriage
We congratulated them for making it back to school and implore them to focus on their studies and try as much possible to complete high school before thinking of marriage.
The WHAI team members for the field work are Ezinwa Chinyere, Uche Enem, Godstime Obimeziem and Udegboka Nkechi.