The Loreto High School Form Three pupil who recently gave birth at the school hostel is set to return to class.
The learner went into labour at the school’s box room last week and delivered a bouncing baby with the assistance of the health focal teachers before being taken to Silobela Hospital for further assistance.
The 15-year-old girl’s parents were later informed of the incident and they took her home in Gweru where she is reportedly in good health.
Government policy is that girls who give birth are allowed to return to school and continue with their education.
What they said
Loreto High School headmaster Phillip Mapiravana said the pupil was free to return to school and continue with her education. He said:
The girl is welcome to return to school whenever she feels that she is ready.
We are guided by the Education Amendment Act of 2020 which makes it a fundamental right to access education even after giving birth.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson, Taungana Ndoro said:
We have dispatched our learner welfare department to provide socio-psycho support to the pupil as well as other pupils at the school.
Our Education Amendment Act makes it mandatory for every learner to access education.
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education chairperson Torerai Moyo said:
The learner goes on leave for maybe two to three weeks upon giving birth and then resumes classes. Her fundamental right to education is guaranteed.
She must feel comfortable in class because her rights are enshrined in the Constitution.
The girl should not be stigmatised when she returns to class. The Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education however urges pupils to abstain from sex which results in early pregnancies.
Pediatrician, Dr Crispen Ngwenya, who is also Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) Midlands Chapter president, said:
We might need to give her enough time for her to come to terms with the situation and find herself again. She needs to rest for a long period because this is a complicated issue.
He added that while normal maternity leave is about 90 days, the pupil might require a year or so before she resumes lessons.
Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe Kwekwe Chapter chairperson, Roswitter Matsveru said:
I think it’s good that the parents have considered readmitting the child back to school although I feel that they should try and find another school for her because she will not cope.
Chief Weight Gwesela said men who engage in sexual relations with underage girls should be punished severely. He said:
We should be educating our society about the dangers of sexually abusing children.
We should impose harsh sentences and for me, I take these matters seriously and will continue to fight in the corner of the Girl Child.
The girl reportedly transferred to Loreto High School at the beginning of the Third Term last year.
Therefore, chances are high that she was already pregnant when she enrolled at the Roman Catholic-run boarding school. | Chronicle