October 21, 2014 23:56 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

  • Ebola-CDC brief

    Audio  WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

    Also, student leaders in Hong Kong not satisfied with first talks with government officials. North Korea has releases one of three American prisoners. And South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for the deadly shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. More

  • Video Hong Kong’s Protests Show Generation Gap

    Students are leading pro-democracy protests in the Chinese territory. But many of their parents are more willing to express support for calm and security. The protests have shown what observers are calling a generation gap. More

  • FILE - satellite image provided by GeoEye shows the area around the Yongbyon nuclear facility in Yongbyon, North Korea. The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies said shows that North Korea has resumed building wor

    Audio North Korea Plans to Keep Nuclear Program

    A North Korean official says his country plans to keep its nuclear program. He says the North Korean government could re-examine its policy toward the United States if U.S. officials continue raising human rights issues. More

  • ** FILE ** In this photo supplied by the Raytheon Aantarctic Services shows the ice highway stretches as far as the eye can see at the Antartica in this undated file photo. A planned driving trip to Antarctica's South Pole along the ice road built by the

    Audio Fiber Optic Cable Measures Antarctic Ice Melt

    Antarctica is covered with ice that extends past the land and floats on the sea in thick shelves. But those ice shelves are melting quickly. As they melt, the sea level rises, increasing the risk of damaging floods. More

  • Postal Worker Protest

    Audio US Politicians Target Asian American Voters

    Asians are the fastest growing minority in the United States. Political scientists say Asian Americans are starting to have an influence on U.S. politics. There now are more Asian Americans in Congress than ever before. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

  • Millions of years of history, which can be found on the ocean floor, are collected and analyzed at the Core Repository in New York.

    Video Scientists Create New Maps of Ocean Floor

    Until recently, scientists had mapped only about 20 percent of the sea floor. But our knowledge of the deep seas is changing because of information from satellites. Scientists have produced a new map that provides a detailed picture of the oceans. More

  • General George McClellan created a strong Union force, but he worried he did not have enough men to defeat the Confederacy.

    Audio McClellan Approaches Richmond ... And Waits

    The North and South clashed in a series of battles called the Seven Days Campaign. The struggle saved the Confederacy but came at a terrible price. But victory came at a terrible price. Twenty thousand Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded. The Civil War was becoming more costly. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs