16 November 2012

Tanzania: 5,000 Pregnant Girls Drop Out of School

Photo: Eric Draper
Former U.S. President George W. Bush visits with students in a classroom in Arusha, Tanzania (file photo).

A TOTAL of 5,157 girls dropped out of primary schools due to pregnancies last calendar year, the Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, has said.

Following the unfortunate scenario, Dr Kawambwa said, the number of girls in secondary schools has decreased from 48 per cent in 2004 to 45 per cent in 2009. The minister made the revelation yesterday in Dar es Salaam during a press conference involving a charity walk to be held tomorrow in the city.

The event aims at raising funds to set up 30 hostels in the country in a quest to accommodate primary schools girls. "The charity walk is one of the government's strategies to help schoolgirls from early pregnancies and marriages," he said.

He added that the shortage of dormitories in primary and secondary schools also contributes to poor academic performance among schoolgirls. On the other hand, Dr Kawambwa said that the government will review the policy on girls' education in a bid to come up with better ways of helping pregnant schoolgirls to continue with education.

He, however, said that the victims are allowed to seek secondary education informally by registering as private candidates. He said that the charity walk organized by Tanzania Education Authority (TEA) would enable the government to build hostels in eight regions.

The charity walk, according to Dr Kawambwa, would be led by the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Investment and Empowerment), Dr Mary Nagu. A total of 3.2bn/- is required for the school dormitory plan. Each building will cost 78m/-.

The charity walk would start at Mlimani City and end at the University of Dar es Salaam stadium. Dr Kawambwa called on education stakeholders, private and public institutions and members of the public to extend a helping hand to supplement the government's efforts to implement and achieve the goal.

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