Some teenage girls in Ntabazinduna who had dropped out of school after falling pregnant when schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic have returned to school.
An estimated 5 000 school girls countrywide fell pregnant last year during the lockdown and had to drop out of school.
According to the National Aids Council (NAC), Nhlambabaloyi Secondary in Matabeleland North Province had about 30 girls who dropped out of school in September 2021 after they fell pregnant during the lockdown.
The majority of the girls have reportedly returned to school after they were assisted with funds by Plan International. Councillor for Ward 6 in Ntabazinduna, Alexander Mkandla said:
These figures are from last year and the school children did drop out of school due to pregnancy and some have returned to school already, after giving birth.
They were taken by Plan International, however, not all of the girls returned to class.
The high rate of teenage pregnancy has been blamed on the prevalence of gold panning in the area.
Mkandla said some learners failed to return to school because they were ashamed of their situation while others got married.
He said the community welcomed the move to have the girls return to school.
The Government’s new position is that pregnant learners should be allowed to give birth and return to school to continue with their studies.
Previously, pregnant learners would be expelled from classes and fail to complete their studies.
It was considered unfair since only girls were expelled from school while the boys responsible for the pregnancies were allowed to continue with their education.