Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Teen Pregnancies show no signs of abating despite birth control education

Teenage pregnancies in Botswana have recorded a significant increase and rural Batswana teens are reportedly not getting sufficient formal instruction about birth control methods. The grim news comes after Botswana adopted a policy shift from abstinence to Birth control education ÔÇô but the severity of the problem is not showing signs of improvement.

Birth control education has been reducing across Botswana for some time and most rural teen boys and girls are not aware of birth control methods. Over the past few years, the proportion of teen girls who were taught about saying no to sex but not about birth control grew from 22 to 28 percent.

Sadly, the high rate of teenage pregnancy is one factor that stops the girl-child from reaching her full potential. Over the past few years, cities and towns have recorded a notable increase in teen pregnancies despite providing an intensive sex education which discourages teen parenthood.

This new development is likely to cast aspersions on some of the programmes that Botswana has proffered to fight teen pregnancies. Even though programs to prevent teen pregnancy have received government’s funding in recent years, their scope may not be broad enough to have had a significant national impact, researchers say.

Some of these programmes are Botswana National Life Skills Framework (2010), a guiding document for life skills programmes for pre-primary, primary and secondary school levels for ages four to 18 years.  The guidance and Counselling Curriculum Guidelines/ Syllabi is designed and developed to comprehensively address sexuality education at these different levels both at lower primary, upper primary, junior and senior secondary levels and integration and infusion of sexuality education across the curriculum. 

The minister of Education Unity Dow once admitted that teenage pregnancies were a problem, but also said the country was milestones ahead in the provision of life skills based education explaining that her approach was considerate of content relevance that was age appropriate, accurate and thorough in sexuality education. 

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