Chipata District of Eastern Province has recorded a total of 111 teenage pregnancies in the first quarter of 2023 that contributed to the young girls dropping out of school, authorities say.
Chipata District Education Board Secretary (DEBS), Gabriel Chutu, told Zambia Monitor on Monday that a total of 186 school dropouts were recorded in the same quarter after the introduction of the free education policy.
Chutu said the district recorded a total number of 35 early marriages of which six involved young boys while 29 involved young girls.
He said about 796 re-entries were recorded in the quarter under review.
He said 40 cases of other dropouts of school involving 21 young boys and 19 girls were also captured under the same quarter.
“A total of 159 girls and 27 boys in the district were captured under the first quarter of 2023 to have dropped out of school,” Chutu said.
He disclosed that the district recorded 382 girls and 325 boys under the re-entries after the introduction of the free education policy by government.
Chutu said 89 entries after giving birth were recorded in the district as of March 31st ,2023.
“In total we had re-entered a total of 471 young girls back into our schools in the district after the introduction of the free education policy by Government,” he said.
Chutu said the district has recorded a reduction in terms of pregnancies in the first quarter 2023 compared to the number recorded during the same period in 2022.
He however said that the number of learners re-entered after giving birth has increased.
“This shows that the district is on course in the implementation of the re-entry policy,” he said.
Chipata District Commissioner, Elidah Banda, is not happy with the increasing numbers of school dropouts despite the introduction of the free education policy by government in order for easy accessibility of education as every child’s right.
Read More:Over 16,000 girls drop out of school every year, only 27 percent attain grade 12
Banda urged parents to give the effective guidance on the importance of education to their children especially young girls.
“As government, we are calling upon all our partners to come on board and join this fight against teenage pregnancies so that we may safeguard the lives of our children,” she said.
Banda has since implored all relevant stakeholders to come on board in the fight against teenage pregnancies in the district.
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