Teenage pregnancy is a problem that doesn't lose its topicality. Unfortunately, the government says about it, when it reaches critical point. This is what happened this time, officials sounded the alarm after 14-year-old girl in Naryn has become a mother.
What is happening in the society? Why do girls get pregnant in 13-15 years? Some people believe that this is a consequence of violence against children, others - sexual illiteracy. So what is the root of the problem and what are its consequences, this question 24.kg news agency asked the respondents.
Michael Munkin, psychologist:
- I believe that the main reason is illiteracy. The girls have a little idea about sex. Often teenagers agree on something unclear for them because of interest, eventually they have children. But I wouldn't say that Kyrgyzstan has an acute problem of teenage pregnancy, but the low level of sex education - yes, it is a problem. Here the question arises, what is considered to be moral, and what ethic?
Kyrgyzstan is multicultural country, so there is no clear and unified approach to solving the problem. For someone books, showing how to use condom is haraam, while others believe that if teens are informed about sex, let them know about the safe ways.
- How to conduct sex education, taking into account our mentality?
- From psychology position it is hard to say which method of sex education will be adequate because its correctness is not dictated by the environment. We have to vary between excessive opening and closing. My suggestion - to conduct trainings on sexual education for parents, who later would teach children themselves. It should be their decision if they don't want to talk about sex with young people, then they will have to carry fruits to maternity home.
Very often, adults don't understand what's going on with their child, especially their body, because topic of sex is taboo. Information is quite limited. Easy access to Internet pornography doesn't give sex education, and vice versa - is not quite adequate information.
Damira Niyazalieva, ex-Vice Prime Minister:
- This problem is not new, its reason is the lack of knowledge of teenagers about reproductive health and their rights. Every year, among them registered nearly 1,200 births, abortions - 180.
Today the youth begins sexual life early, without having full information. This leads to an increase in the number of infections, sexually transmitted diseases.
- How this issue is being solved at the legislative level?
- There is a law "On reproductive rights of citizens and guarantees of its implementation," developed and adopted in 2015. It clearly spelled out responsibilities of each social institution (family, school, doctors) in sex education. But, unfortunately, today there is no clear enforcement mechanism that led to the case in Naryn. This fact should be a signal to the deputies that they to check the execution of the law, and not offered to limit the number of guests at weddings.
There was egregious example in one school. Girl, aged 11-12, wanted to commit suicide in the toilet. She did such a step because she started menstruating, but she decided that she was pregnant without sexual relations. Her mother kept saying: if you play a lot with the boys, you will get pregnant. But the mother did not tell how children appear, so here is the result.
Parents are embarrassed to talk to children about the features of their body and think that sexual education is given in schools. And teachers admit that they also feel shy of telling the students even about the child's conception at biology. As a result, due to the fact that the teenager is not getting the attention he needs, he begins to look for it on the Internet.
Ministry of Health Care together with the Ministry of Education should develop a unified state program for the implementation of the reproductive rights of citizens, particularly schoolchildren, taking into account age and gender characteristics. This shouldn't be dragged out, it is a very big social problem.
Kamchybek Uzakbaev, director of the National Center for Maternity and Childhood Welfare:
- The case in Naryn proves that there is a problem of teenage pregnancy, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. In Kyrgyzstan, the young girls are being stolen, given in marriage, citing outdated customs. I believe that the root of the problem - the abuse of children. Although sexual illiteracy is also one of the reasons. Therefore, parents should talk about the consequences of early sexual relations, provide some lessons on this topic in schools. Although it is said that there are such lessons, but we don't see results.
- Who should conduct sex education?
- It should start with the family, then in schools and society. It must be admitted that Kyrgyzstan lags behind many countries in terms of sexual literacy. This topic is closed for parents.
Gulshan Abdyldaeva, a leading expert of the School and Pre-school Education Department of the Ministry of Education of the Kyrgyz Republic:
- In most cases, the girls start early sexual activity not voluntarily, mostly through violence. Both parents and children themselves ofter keep silence about such facts.
We can not speak about sex education in schools openly, the public decides that we have wrong policy. Therefore, the Ministry has introduced healthy lifestyle lesson, which tells about gender, premarital sex, consequences, and more. The program is included in 2015 for students from 6th to 11th grades.
- Tell us more about it.
- About 12,000 teachers, staff of several universities are already trained. There are provided 10 academic hours per year for children. In sixth grade it is talked about hygiene and health, in the seventh - about infectious diseases, changes in the body, protection from violence, in the eighth - about gender, relationships between men and women, in the ninth - about the consequences of early marriage, bride kidnapping and 10-11-graders - on measures of HIV / AIDS prevention and so on.
- How openly can teachers talk with their children about sex education?
- This is a very big problem. Therefore, the new program provides teacher training, how to present the information, taking into account sex and age of a teenager.
Baktygul Rakymbaeva, a student of 9th class:
- For me, as a teenager, sex education is very important. We are told about it in biology class, but only in passing, it is not enough. Teachers are not interested in us to receive information on reproductive health, saying: "Learn it yourself, read." But how?
- Who should conduct sex education for teens, with whom it would be comfortable to speak on this subject?
- It would be nice if we were given literature, where everything is written in details and simply. I remember at school there were given leaflets about reproductive health, but then they were banned, although all students were very interested. Some adults believe, if to teach children sex education, they will have desire to experience it. In fact it is not. If teenagers were explained about the consequences of early sexual life, they wouldn't have wanted this.
- Do you discuss this topic with parents?
- No, they are embarrassed. They say, "Don't choose the bad way. Don't go out with the guys," but don't explain what it is. It turns out, the teenager has to guess what adult mean by the word "bad." I know from various trainings and seminars about reproductive health.
For example, my brother found out where babies come from when he was seven. I think, with this age one need to conduct sex education from an early age, in order children have the right perception and understanding.