"I'm expecting every parent and guardian and everyone else to understand that every child must be assisted by all of us to go to school," said Zimbabwe Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Cain Mathema.
The law project is an amendment to a 1999 legal guideline. Women's rights advocates warn that teen pregnancies can increase during the pandemic because girls spent more time isolated and unprotected with potential sexual assaulters or partners.
In most cases, girls suffer a double marginalization because of social stigma over early pregnancy and school expelling. Without education opportunities, adolescent mothers depend on parents, legal tutors, or partners.
How parents can support their child through COVID-19 losses.
A psychologist's advice on helping your children process loss and grief during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the statistics of the Education Ministry, over 12 percent of the 57,500 school dropouts were pregnant or married girls in 2018. On the other side, colleges rarely dismissed male pupils facing teen paternity.
"Every child, whether boy or girl ... has a right to go to school in Zimbabwe," Mathema added.
Several advocates of women's rights stressed that, despite the bill enforcement, pregnant girls would need extra support to attend schooling during pregnancy and to return once they give birth.