Kuala Lumpur: Five heavily pregnant teenagers
signed up to become the pioneer students at Malaysia`s first
school dedicated to pregnant teenagers.
Accompanied by their families, the girls, aged between 16
and 17, unmarried and into the second trimester of their
pregnancies, came to register at the aptly named Sekolah
Harapan or School of Hope yesterday, which is
located in Malacca state.
The school was conceived by the Malacca Chief Minister
Mohamed Ali Rustam, who wanted the teenagers to continue their
studies without being stigmatized and as a way to curb the
rising phenomenon of ``baby dumping.``
``Out-of-wedlock pregnancy cases are increasing
nationwide and rather than sweeping the problem under the
carpet, we should take action to address the problem before it
become worse,`` the New Straits Times daily quoted him
saying after he toured the premises on Sunday.
The idea was sparked by concerns over the number of cases
reported of babies, either dead or alive, being abandoned in
garbage dumps, thrown into rivers or left for dead on the
Up to this year alone, there were some 70 cases reported
nationwide and according to Ali, most of them involved Muslim
The school, which can accommodate 40 students, is run by
the Malacca Islamic Affairs Department and was originally
planned for Muslims, but now it has been decided that
everyone, irrespective of religion or race, would
That came after an ethnic Chinese girl who is non-Muslim
applied. She is one of the five girls accepted into the
Besides studying for subjects offered by normal schools
like mathematics, science and history, these girls would also
be given counseling and lessons on baby care.