AS the government struggles to keep female students in schools, an appalling trend is unfolding in Nkasi District, Rukwa Region, where reports indicate that more than 200 girl students have dropped out of school in a period of six months as a result of teenage pregnancies.
This means that at least 33 girls drop out of school each month, a situation which paints a bleak picture of the district in terms of dropout rates in the country. The Nkasi District Council Executive Director (DED), Mr Missana Kwangura told the "Daily News" over the phone that they are focusing on the teenage pregnancies in the district, insisting that it poses huge challenges which can be termed as the district disaster.
"It is true, cases of teen- age pregnancies for second- ary schools in Nkasi District are worse and dishearten- ing, given that more than 200 girl students have dropped out... most of them are from secondary schools, actually it poses immense challenges which can be termed as cata- strophic," explained DED.
"Provision of meals in schools is of paramount im- portance, which parents and guardians, school committees and board members have been sensitized over it," explained Mr Kwangura.
A cross– section of Nkasi District Council councilors interviewed by this paper recently on the sideline of their Full Council meeting suggested that it was high time relevant authorities see the importance of arresting and prosecuting the pregnant girls.
"More than 200 school girls being impregnated in a period of six months is shocking, and something tangible should be done in addressing it... .as it was the case where men who impregnated girl students were being arrested and prosecuted, the same should be applied to the girl students," said Kabwe Ward Councilor, Mr Asante Lubisha.
Similar sentiment was echoed by a number of councilors, including Nkasi District Council Chairman, Sumuni Mwanakulya. Meanwhile, Mr Kwangura told this paper in a phone interview that about 2,999 pupils who started Standard One in 2013 failed to reach Standard Seven due to various reasons, including absenteeism, illness and pregnancies.
"About 8,347 pupils were enrolled in Standard One in 2013, among them, girls were 4,263 and boys were 4,084... . out of them, about 5,348 were registered to sit for Standard Seven National Examination held in September 12 and 13 this year," noted Mr Kwangura. He further elaborated that 91 pupils in Nkasi District failed to sit for Standard Seven National Examination this year, among them 48 girls and 43 boys.