The implementation of ‘Sekolah Harapan’, a school for pregnant teens in Malacca, has been criticized by Selangor-based NGO Empower as being judgmental and bias towards pregnant teens.
Empower executive director Maria Chin Abdullah while organization commend the authority’s efforts today to address the baby-dumping epidemic, said the school seems to send out messages based on judgmental notions.
She said that the school seems to be based on notions such as ‘unwed pregnant teens are bad’ and ‘need to be reoriented’, while also overlooking the role that boys play in young pregnancy cases.
“Why they are putting the blames on the pregnant girls? What about the boys? Have they done no wrong( in committing pre-marital sex)?” she asked.
Referring the authority’s statement that the unwed teens need to be taught to become a good mothers, she urged the autorithy to drop that stereotype and stand from the victim point of view.
The NGO championing feminists’ principles is strongly against the special school which commenced its classes today.
Maria added that the school graduates will again be judged when they show their curriculum vitae with a record of the school that they attended later in their careers.
“They should instead be retained at normal school or take time out during pregnancy,” she suggested, before asking what the school would do if the teenage girls decide that they don’t want the baby at the end of the day.
She said to tackle the social problem; sex education must be gradually introduced to children from primary school up until teens in secondary school.
“Teenagers should be taught of the consequences of consensual sex,”
However, the Yayasan Nur Salam shelter home rallied behind the actions taken by the Malaccan government.
She said the school is a form of support to unwed teens whom bind with future uncertainty after getting pregnant.
“If we don’t have such facility for them, they will just be loitering around and what’s next?” its operation manager Asiah Ariffin said today.
She refuted criticisms that the school will encourage pre-marital sex, said many unwed teens do not ‘really want to do it’ in the first place.
Asiah also suggested that a parenting subject can also be taught in the school so that the mothers are furnished with knowledge to look after their future babies.
“Besides protecting the mothers, we also need to protect the children,” she said.
‘Sekolah Harapan’ opens today in Malacca with five pregnant teens become the first batch of students.
An all-female staff will offer normal classes as well as counseling to the girls until they return to their normal schools after their delivery and confinement period.
For further information on the school, one can contact Malacca Islamic Department enforcement chief Rahimin Bani at 019-6671564 or 06-2881534.