In an effort to further safeguard student rights, Thailand’s Education Minister has signed a new ministerial regulation that forbids schools, colleges, and universities from transferring or dismissing pregnant teens.
Mr. Anek Laothamatas, minister of higher education, science, research, and innovation, and Ms. Treenuch Thienthong, minister of education, jointly signed the document, which was then published in the Royal Gazette on Saturday.
According to the rule, no educational establishment in the kingdom is permitted to expel pregnant teens or make them transfer to another school without their will.
Additionally, it states that the action is intended to guarantee the protection of students’ rights to a quality education.
At all levels of schools, colleges, and universities, the rule is in effect.
According to the Education Ministry, the government’s plan to combat teen pregnancies and their effects on young people’s lives includes the regulation. The government reports some progress in lowering the number of teenage pregnancies in the interim.
A ministry source reports that after the 2016 act on adolescent pregnancy prevention and solution was put in place, the drop-out rate among pregnant students has decreased.
Only 13.7% of pregnant students attended class in 2016, compared to up to 53.5% who dropped out, according to the source.
According to the source, in 2021, the proportion of students who continued their studies after becoming pregnant increased to 33.8%, while the proportion of those who dropped out decreased to 36.1%.
The Ministry of Public Health’s campaign to prevent teen pregnancies is believed to have had a considerable impact on the number of adolescent pregnancies over the previous year, according to the source.
Compared to the 31 per 1,000 population recorded in 2019, the source claimed the pregnancy rate for women aged 15 to 19 dropped to 25 per 1,000 last year. The pregnancy rate among those aged 10 to 14 also decreased last year, from 1.1 per 1,000 people in 2019 to 0.9 per 1,000 people in 2018.
According to the source, the ministry now seeks to further reduce the rates in the 15 to 19 age range to 15 per 1,000 people and in the 10 to 14 age group to 0.5 per 1,000 people.
Jump in pregnant teens prompts implant push
According to a Department of Health research, despite a decline in recent years, births among pregnant teens increased last year.
Dr. Boonrit Sookrat, head of the Bureau of Reproductive Health, reported that in 2020, there were 28 infants born to women aged 15 to 19 for every 1,000 people in that age and gender group, down from 31 the year before.
However year over year in 2021, the number increased by 47%.
According to the report, 52% of student mothers last year chose to raise their children at home after giving birth.
Nonetheless, a higher percentage (33%) was able to balance on-site education and child care, and fewer adolescent mothers dropped out of school.
Dr. Boonrit stated that the Department of Health has increased efforts to encourage birth control while the government is marketing extremely effective contraceptive implants as part of a larger campaign to lower the birthrate among teenagers.
The National Health Security Office and the Department of Health collaborated to develop a strategy to prevent unauthorized pregnancies by making semi-permanent forms of contraception available, according to Dr. Suwant tochai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the Department of Health.
According to the strategy, NHSO network health clinics are able to provide intrauterine devices and contraceptive implants to women under the age of 20, he added.
“Implants have a three- to five-year lifespan and are quite effective. They can also be turned around to allow for instant fertilization “Added he.