Mchinji — In a bid to stop girls from dropping out of school and enable them complete their education, chiefs and community leaders in Traditional Authority Mkanda in Mchinji district have developed by- laws to keep girls in school.
The by- laws championed by Sub Traditional Authority (STA) Pitala were developed after she noted a high rate of girls dropping out of school in primary and secondary schools in the area.
"In the years 2016/17 about 30 girls have already dropped out of school in Mkanda school zone which forced me to act, and through the village and area development committees, we formulated these by-laws which will punish parents, students and all contributing to girls dropping out of the school," STA Pitala told MANA.
STA Pitala said she got trained on the need for girls to stay in school which gave her an idea on how to help keep girls in school and she has since encouraged girls who dropped out of school to return.
The by-laws have the blessings of Senior Chief Mkanda and Mchinji district council and have since started working in the area.
Some of the by-laws are as follows; a girl who gets pregnant while in school would be expected to pay two goats to the chief or money equivalent to the goats while sugar daddies/older men going out with school girls would be paying five goats to the chief, local community organisations and to parents of the girl.
The by-laws also ensure that village headmen and parents should ensure that students attend school regularly, failure which, the village head and parents would pay chickens or money equivalent to the chickens.
Mchinji District Council Chairperson, Edson Josiah commended the people of Mkanda for coming up with the by-laws saying Mchinji has one of the highest school dropout cases especially girls due to early marriages and pregnancies.
"I appeal to other traditional leaders in the district to come up with by-laws to enable girls complete their education," he said.
Josiah called on parents and organisations working in the education sector to encourage girls to stay in school, saying the council would support programs aimed at promoting education in the district.