Female school drop-outs in Manicaland province have increased sharply from 220 in May 2017 to 311, the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) has said.
The problem has been observed in the province's seven districts -- Chimanimani, Mutare, Mutasa, Nyanga, Makoni, Chipinge and Buhera. Mutasa district recorded the most drop-outs, Nyanga had the lowest at six for both primary and secondary schools.
It is believed that the problem was mainly being fanned by unplanned pregnancies, child marriages, internal migration and shortage of resources for tuition. Manicaland's ZNFPC provincial manager Mr Dyson Masvingise said in an interview that the increase in drop-outs needed to be addressed in a holistic approach.
"Despite the fact that we are not comparing the figure to the total number of children at school, it is too big and a lot of effort is needed to deal with the situation. This means a lot of work has to be done as a province, and we need team work. We need to take our efforts a gear up if we are to do something effective in containing this problem," he said.
Government and civic organisations are educating parents on the pitfalls of marrying off their children, especially on religious grounds. There has also been a lot of effort to promote parent-to-child conversation so that teenagers can be educated on the disadvantages of engaging in early sexual activities.