Yei parents send girls to boarding school to curb teenage pregnancy

Yei parents send girls to boarding school to curb teenage pregnancy
A sign at Kenji Primary School warning about early child marriage. [Photo: Sheila Ponnie, City Review]

Parents from Yei River County are calling on the state government to open more boarding schools to curb teenage pregnancy in the area.

They argued that the girls can only escape being impregnated if they are kept away from men in boarding schools.

Despite the lack of many schools in Yei, the parents have agreed to convert one of the oldest mixed-day schools, Kinij Secondary School, into a girls boarding school.

“The reason is to protect these girls from being spoiled through early marriages, rapes, and forced marriages,” Augustino Mawa, the school’s head teacher, told The City Review.

Mawa said only boys should be allowed to move from home as the girls stay in the hostel.

“Due to the current situation [where the current accommodation is not enough], the first structure that will come in can be used for girls because keeping girls is simply safer than boys,” he explained.

He stated that the boys would only be accommodated in boarding if the school’s construction was completed on time.

The proposal has since been approved by the school’s governing council, according to Augustino.

Mawa said the community had witnessed a growing number of vulnerable children, especially girls whose morals slip away due to a lack of parental guidance.

He believes boarding schools can be a means to motivate girls to pursue their studies.

 “If we have boarding schools, it becomes easier for us to control these young children from getting spoiled, especially the vulnerable girls who have no parental guidance.” “There are child mothers who you least expect to have children,” he said.

Kinij Secondary School was established in 1964 by the British and has been described as one of the best schools in the area before it was closed down in 1990 during the civil war.

However, it was rehabilitated in 2006 by the UNHCR, to accommodate returnees.

Some of the prominent personalities who once chewed books here include the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro, and Ambassador Emmanuel Lowilla, according to Augustino.

Aggrey Cyrus Kanyikwa, Commissioner of Yei River County, said Kinij Primary and secondary schools have been the foundation of education in the county. He said the school was once used as a military base during the war for liberation.

“Kinij primary school is now accommodating 1,092 pupils in eight classrooms. It is congested and Kinij secondary school should be prepared to receive the pupils that will be living in primary school to go to secondary school. “

Amule Felix, the First Director General for the state ministry of general education and instruction CES said it is prudent to set up satellite schools that serve as model schools like Kinij.