By Nompumelelo Sibanda
CASES of school children falling pregnant have more than doubled during the national lockdown, with Parliament yesterday hearing that almost every pupil at Magwegwe High in Bulawayo knew of a colleague who is pregnant.
Parliament also heard that two Grade 7 pupils at Bosbury Primary School in Chegutu dropped out after getting pregnant before sitting their 2020 examinations.
The revelations were made by Hon. Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga while presenting her report of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education on the field visits conducted to selected schools to check compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
“School Heads and teachers raised concern over the increasing number of learners falling pregnant especially those sitting for ‘O’ and ‘A’ level.
“It was estimated that the cases had more than doubled and follow ups on these cases had not yielded positive results as parents felt that once a child is pregnant, they have no educational future,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who chairs the portfolio committee.
“This is prevalent in both rural and urban school settings. At Magwegwe High, almost every child that the Committee interacted with knew of a colleague that was pregnant.
“Teachers indicated that although, they make follow ups and encourage the girls to come to school and write the examinations, a number were reluctant.
“At Bondamakare High School, about 10 girls got married. At Bosbury Primary School, 2 grade seven pupils got pregnant and dropped out of school.
“However, some school authorities have been working tirelessly with non-governmental organisations to ensure that the girls return to school, for example, at Mukore High School, Masvingo,” she said.
Meanwhile, Zanu-PF MP Tatenda Mavetera called for school fees to be charged on a pro-rata basis.
“I do not think it will be fair for any parent to be paying for one month but paying the same school fees that they are supposed to be paying for the term.
“I believe that it will be important for us to have a fee for online lessons and a fee for physically conducted lessons,” she said. – Zimbabwe Voice 🔺