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  • A visitor at an informal traders market gets the skin temperature taken and hands sanitised in Harare, Zimbabwe,  August 25,  2020.

    A visitor at an informal traders market gets the skin temperature taken and hands sanitised in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 25, 2020. | Photo: EFE/EPA/AARON UFUMELI

Published 25 August 2020
Opinion

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. 

Zimbabwe President Emerson Mnangagwa, on Sunday, passed a bill that prohibits schools from expelling pregnant girls. The act intends to prevent school dropping and gender inequity in education.

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"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.

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. 

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