April 26, 2015 11:32 UTC

Education

Puberty Lessons for African Girls May Raise Attendance

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Students at a school in CameroonStudents at a school in Cameroon
x
Students at a school in Cameroon
Students at a school in Cameroon

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
  • Puberty Lessons for African Girls May Raise Attendance

From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report in Special English.
 
A new study shows that simple, low-cost interventions can help teenage girls in Africa stay in school during their monthly periods. 
 
Paul Montgomery led the study. He is a professor in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at Oxford University in England.
 
"Women are the driving force of economic development across Africa. And so it's particularly important to do what you can to keep girls going to school."
 
One hundred twenty girls in Ghana took part in the study. They were an average of almost sixteen years old. They attended three secondary schools in urban areas and one in a rural area
 
In the study, girls at two of the schools received free sanitary pads and lessons on puberty. Their attendance increased by an average of six days, or nine percent, during a sixty-five-day term.
 
The puberty lessons included information about personal care during menstruation. The girls also learned about the biology of their developing bodies and about pregnancy.
 
At the third school, the girls received the lessons but not the free pads. Attendance by these girls also improved by nine percent, but that took about five months.
 
At the fourth school the girls did not receive the pads or the lessons. That group showed no improvement in school attendance.
 
Professor Montgomery says the girls in the study had several reasons for missing school during their monthly bleeding. A majority expressed embarrassment about the changes in their bodies.
 
"Embarrassment was a big part of it, certainly, and that was reported by well over half the girls. But ignorance, I think, was a very big part of it, too, and they just didn't know what they were doing."
 
He says the interventions might not only keep girls from missing school, but also reduce teen pregnancies.
 
"I think one of the things menstruation does is that it signals the onset of the girl transitioning into womanhood. And that in turn, I think, sets them up to get pregnant. So I think we'll be able to help reduce teen pregnancy, improve their entering the labor market and the economic development of those women."
 
The Public Library of Science published the study in its journal PLOS One. A larger study is taking place in Uganda until twenty fifteen. The Oxford professor says the hope is to learn more about the effects of puberty on school attendance.
 
"So, we already know that education is important. We know that pads are important. We know that both are important. And we 'll be able to separate out these key issues, and then be able to give some really strong advice for development officers as far as sub-Saharan Africa is concerned."
 
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report. I'm Laurel Bowman.
 
___
 
Contributing: Joe De Capua and Jerilyn Watson
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Thu Trang from: Viet Nam
11/17/2012 11:54 AM
I feel very surprised when puberty lessons can affect the school attendance of girls in Africa. But I'm sure, the girls have a little knowledge about their monthly bleeding and menstruation. It's so good when there have more and more non-profit organizations find way to help girls in Africa.


by: jamesdicesi from: nyc
11/12/2012 8:35 PM
slargon http://slargon.com/ is by far the most fun way to learn English


by: Shige from: Japan
11/12/2012 5:38 AM
I have taken it for granted girls receive puberty lessons in school until I read this article. But in fact, the amount of girls who can receive puberty lessons is not so many in Africa.

It is surprising that puberty lessons relates to increase of girls' attendance.


by: Annisa from: Indonesia
11/12/2012 2:09 AM
I agree that puberty lesson for African girls is very important. It may raise attandance but it needs control, monitoring, evaluation and consistency. Reduce teen pregnancies is not easy. It should have strong commitment from government, school, parents and any department which related.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
11/08/2012 6:48 AM
Online says the school atendence rate is 59.3 % for girls and 72.3% for boys in Ghana recently. Its literacy rate is reported 65.8% in total. It must be useful in order to raise gair's attendence rate to envestigate the role of puberty on it.

義務教育年数 9年 (2009)
識字率(女) 59.3% (2008)
識字率(男) 72.3% (2008)

Learn with The News

  • Nepal Earthquake

    Video Nepal Earthquake Kills More Than 1,800, Shakes Mt. Everest

    A major earthquake and dozens of powerful aftershocks struck Nepal Saturday, destroying parts of Katmandu, the capital city. The quake killed more than 1,800 people. The 7.8-magnitude quake shook Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on Earth. It was the most powerful to hit the area in 81 years. More

  • Audio Islam Is the Fastest Growing Religion in the World

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, according to a new study. The Pew Research Center spent six years studying the demographics of population and religion around the world. What they found is that as the world population grows between 2010 and 2050, so will Islam. More

  • The New Orleans skyline shows St. Louis Cathedral, left, the Presbyterian Building, right, and the Natchez paddle boat headed down the foggy Mississippi River, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005. New Orleans has a New Year's Eve celebration scheduled in the Jackson Square area with music including Arlo Guthrie and family and fireworks. (AP Photo/Judi Bottoni)

    Video 40th Anniversary for Mississippi River Steamboat

    In the 1800s, many steamboats sailed up and down the mighty Mississippi River, which divided the eastern states from the West. Today only a few of these steam-powered paddleboats still operate on the Mississippi. We travel on one of them and learn the history of the boats and the river. | As It Is More

  • Audio US Senate Committee Approves Trade Promotion Authority Bill

    United States officials are working toward separate trade agreements with the European Union and Japan. At the same time, Congress committee approved Trade Promotion Authority. The measure sets congressional goals and guidance for trade negotiations. More

  • Audio When It Comes to Money, Black Is Better Than Red

    Colors come to the rescue when you want to describe a business that is making money or losing money. Judging from Jack Ma's smile at Alibaba's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange, he's making a lot of money. Also learn other useful banking terms. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio When It Comes to Money, Black Is Better Than Red

    Colors come to the rescue when you want to describe a business that is making money or losing money. Judging from Jack Ma's smile at Alibaba's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange, he's making a lot of money. Also learn other useful banking terms. More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: In, On and At

    Many learners have questions about English grammar rules for using prepositions of place and time. We present a few simple guidelines to help you put your prepositions in the right places. In English, though, there is always an ‘exception to the rule. More

  • Video Monkeys Rule the Ruins in Disney Documentary

    The new Disneynature film “Monkey Kingdom” centers on a troop of tocque macaques that live in a special place in Sri Lanka. The animals live under a strict social order. New mother Maya is low on that order and struggles for survival with her newborn, Kip. Danger and drama define their existence. More

  • Video Benito Cereno by Herman Melville, Part Three

    Today we complete the story of Benito Cereno, written by Herman Melville. As we told you in earlier parts of our story, rebel slaves seized the ship San Dominick off the coast of Chile. They killed many of its officers and crew. The captain, Benito Cereno, was ordered to sail to Senegal. But... More

  • Video Looking to Webb Telescope on Hubble 25th Anniversary

    The Hubble Space Telescope has been orbiting the Earth since 1990. Hubble has provided amazing pictures of space over the past 25 years. But as NASA officials mark the anniversary, work on the new James Webb Space Telescope continues. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs