By:Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Bayelsa state Universal basic education board, SUBEB has taken its sensitisation campaign drive on children’s school enrolment to the rural communities of Bayelsa State.
The programme, tagged “encourage your child to stay in school” was earlier kick-started Monday in all the headquarters of the 8 local government Areas of the state.
Our correspondent who monitored the event in Ayama-Ijaw and Igeibiri communities of Southern Ijaw Local government area during the week reports that the exercise went on smoothly as scheduled as pupils and students of St.Paul’s primary schools 1 and 2, Community primary school,zion-Ayama and Tarakiri secondary school all of Ayama-Ijaw as well as St.Joseph primary, community primary and Ogou compressive secondary schools, Igeibiri all participated.
Resource person and Social mobilisation officer with the state universal basic education board, SUBEB, Mrs. Kate Ziriki who sensitised participants on the importance of children enrolment in school, stressed the need for parents to discourage teenage pregnancy, saying it militates against children Education.
Ziriki noted that due to the prevalence of teenage pregnancy amongst students these days the rate of drop out is on the high. She charged students to abstain from premarital sex, saying outside becoming dropouts, teenage pregnancy is also associated with social isolation, psychological problems, amongst others.
Also speaking, Education secretary, Southern Ijaw Local government council, Mrs. Leah Amara sensitized participants against cultism and peer group influence.
Mrs Amara emphasized that following the high rate of moral decadence in the nation these days,students especially those within the age brackets of school enrolment are seen as targets for initiation into cult and other criminal groups.
She advised parents to watch the peer groups their children and wards keep, stressing that young girls of school enrolment age brackets are wont to dressing indecently jus as she described that as a flashpoint for recruitment into prostitution and bad groups.
Meanwhile the duo communities of Ayama and Igeibiri have promised to sanction parents whose children and wards are not sent to school.
The communities said these following the revelation by the Unicef and SUBEB team that public primary and secondary school in the state is free.
Participants at the event were drawn from primary school pupils and students of secondary school in the areas well as traditional rulers, politicians, teachers and security operatives just as the exercise was ended yesterday in Yenagoa with a briefing by participants.