Tanzania Allows Learning for Teen Mothers

Blackboard and chalk eraser in classroom.

Tanzania has buckled under pressure from human rights groups, activists and the US will henceforth permit pregnant girls to resume formal education as prescribed by the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (Sequip) financed by the World Bank.

The $500 million worth Sequip project targets to reach more than 6.5 million secondary school students across the country without discrimination, including girls who have dropped out of school for various reasons but especially pregnancy.

Following the WB's Sequip approval on March 31, the Ministry of Education has clarified to stakeholders and the public "to clear the confusion" regarding the Sequip project.

In a statement by Joyce Ndalichako, the minister of Education, Science and Technology clarified that the government will commit to ensure they continue with their education as recommended.

"The government is committed to ensure that they continue with their education as prescribed in the project," reads the statement.

In 2017, President John Magufuli asked public schools to ban under age mothers from attending school, and in the past year, a number of Tanzanian pregnant girls have been expelled from schools.

Speaking in Chalinze town, more than two years ago, President Magufuli said that girls would be too distracted to concentrate on their studies if they had a child, and their presence would be a bad influence on other girls.

Formal engagement

According to the minister, the government will remain committed to implementing the Sequip project by rendering to its designs and the agreements made with the World Bank.

"We reiterate our position that stakeholders will always be formally engaged at various stages and be informed on the implementation progress as the per agreed plan of action," said Ms Ndalichako,

"We also remain committed to provide inclusive and safe education for all students in Tanzania," said the minister.

Ms Ndalichako added that children who pass the national examination will also be provided with the same opportunity to continue with their education in public schools, colleges and universities regardless of the institutions they attended.

However, currently the government of Tanzania has ordered closure of schools, due to coronavirus in the country.

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