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Back to School for Freetown’s Pregnant Teens

Sierra Leone has lifted an internationally criticised ban that prohibited pregnant schoolgirls from attending school and sitting exams, in a move heralded by activists as a “victory for feminism” in the West African nation. The decision, announced on Monday, follows a judgment last December by a top regional court that ordered the immediate overturn of the ban, which effectively barred tens of thousands of girls the right to finish their education. The Economic Community of West African States court instructed Sierra Leone to establish nationwide programmes to help pregnant girls return to school. “Overturning the ban is the first step in building a radically inclusive Sierra Leone where all children – regardless of class, ethnicity, tribe, disability, location, gender, reproductive or parenting status – are able to live and learn in safety and dignity,” the education ministry said in a statement.