No takers for "pregnant teens" school in Malaysia

Written by: Samyuktha
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Jasin, Sept 18 (ANI): After a lot of media hype, Malaysia's first school for pregnant teens- Sekolah Harapan- or "school of hope" has finally been opened, but no one has enrolled in the controversial facility so far.

Only a group of media persons from local and foreign press were present on its first day, who had come for a media briefing by the school's chairman, Abdul Rahman Abdul Karim, The Star reports.

He insisted the lack of response would not deter the state from keeping the school open. "There may not be any students at the moment but we will keep the school open," he said, adding that he had received inquiries from Malacca, Johor and Penang.

"This is something new, which takes time for society to accept... Sooner or later there are bound to be girls coming here to seek help," Karim told reporters during a tour of the school yesterday.

"We are giving priority to local teens but will consider those from other states if there are vacancies," he said, adding that the school could take in about 40 girls, mainly students between Form Two and Form Five.

The school would be managed by the Malacca Islamic Affairs Department and run by a staff of six.

The concept caused a stir when Chief Minister Seri Mohammad Ali Rustam announced that 500,000 Malaysian ringgit had been set aside for the "School of Hope," in a bid to provide free education as well as maternity and delivery care for married and unmarried pregnant teens.

Rustam defended the move as a way to help prevent incidents of baby dumping.

The two-storey school, which once housed the office of the Malacca Water Corporation, would take in both Muslim and non-Muslim girls, and teach them handicraft and parenting skills, apart from the standard examination subjects. (ANI)

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