Tuesday August 31, 2010
Special institution for pregnant young girls to continue their studies will open soon
By MARTIN CARVALHO
MALACCA: After much controversy, the state government’s special school for pregnant teenagers will open next month.
The school, named Sekolah Harapan or School of Hope, is located in the former Malacca Water Corporation office in Jasin and is expected to accommodate 32 pregnant teens from as young as 14 years old.
School chairman Datuk Abd Rahaman Karim said renovations were being carried out and he was hopeful of opening the school on Wednesday.
“There have been several enquiries about enrolment. This is a positive sign that families want help for their pregnant teenage children,” he said yesterday.
He said the school would have four classes for students in Form Two to Form Five, with a maximum of eight students per class.
Besides allowing the pregnant teenagers to continue with their studies, the school would also provide religious and health counselling, he said, adding that the state would seek help from the health authorities to provide regular medical check-ups for the girls.
He said the former Kadi’s Office in Jasin located next to the school would be converted into a dormitory for the students and named Rumah Harapan.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the state did not want to publicise the school to protect the students’ privacy.
“We do not want the girls to be subject to media scrutiny,” he said.
Mohd Ali caused a storm two months ago when he announced the setting up of the school here as a means for pregnant teens to further their education while also curbing baby dumping.
The school for pregnant teenage girls, both married and those out of wedlock, was mooted by the Malacca Islamic Religious Council on May 18.
There were 900 cases of co-habitation and 391 out-of-wedlock births in the state last year with 174 out-of-wedlock births recorded as of July this year by mainly girls below 20-years-old.
A total of five baby dumping cases was also recorded here as of August.