Fidelis Molao is the man with two faces. He is the assistant Minister of Education with papers in his IN tray suggesting that teenage pregnancy is the bane of his ministry. An unconfirmed Facebook post however portrays him as a reckless lucky politician who thinks nothing of hooking up with teenage girls and plying them with alcohol.
A research paper ÔÇô Girl pupil drop out in Secondary Schools in Botswana ÔÇô by Dr Bernard Moswela and Serefete Molosiwa has revealed that pregnancy “is the number one reason that accounts for girls’ disappearance from the classroom.”
The report further revealed that “school dropout rates due to pregnancy are higher among girls from lower socio economic families.”
The report defines teenage pregnancy as “a girl aged 19 or less becoming pregnant. The majority of pupils in Botswana fall within this cohort.”
Previous and current Education statistics also shows that school dropout due to pregnancy is the most common form of drop outs.
Statistics show that 7228 girls have dropped out of Botswana secondary schools between 1998 and 2002. The figure is believed to be higher. The research paper said teenage pregnancy was being under reported, “because pregnancy is culturally disapproved for teenagers and a stigma for the girl child and her family.”
The actual figure of drop outs due to pregnancies between 1998 and 2002 is estimated to be as high as 12837 compared to 2623 among boys. The researchers added 3806 unexplained desertions by girls from school and 394 drop outs reported as “due to illness “during the period and added it to the 7228 reported cases.
Minister Molao is currently embroiled in a controversy involving a teenager who fell pregnant after she was defiled by a councilor from his constituency. An unconfirmed Facebook communication between the minister and his councilor suggests that the minister tried to cover up the pregnancy and may have been part of the councillors frolic with teenagers.