2,000 pupils pregnant in Southern Province

OVER 2,000 basic school pupils fell pregnant in Southern Province.
Provincial education officer Stephen Chishiko says over 250 pupils in secondary school fell pregnant the same year, a development he said is of great concern.
Mr Chishiko revealed the statistics during the World Teachers Day celebrations held in Choma on Monday under the theme “Unite for quality education for a better tomorrow.”
“The issue of early pregnancies and early marriages among school going girls still concerns the ministry greatly. Last year, the province witnessed about 2,030 pregnancies at basic school level and 507 re-admissions while 264 pregnancies and 120 re-admissions were reported respectively at secondary level,” he said.
Mr Chishiko appealed to parents, traditional leaders, and religious groups to help speak against child pregnancies, which he described as detrimental to the victims’ academic progress.
“The figures given above show a gloomy picture that needs concerted efforts…community leaders need to take an active role in protecting the girl- child against this trend which undoubtedly hinders her academic progress,” he said.
Mr Chishiko also underscored the need to sensitise the public about the school re-entry policy which allows a girl -child to return to school after giving birth.
And Mr Chishiko called on teachers to lead exemplary and professional lives that will inspire their leharners.
“Statistics show that most girls dropping out of school have no models to look up to, while others are forced into marriages by their parents.
I implore teachers to inspire both the learners and the community they serve,” he said.
Mr Chishiko informed the teachers that Government is concerned and is working towards addressing the issues.
Earlier, Professional Teachers Union of Zambia president Mwitumwa Kabimba called on Government to clear all outstanding claims for teachers such as leave travel benefits and settling in allowances.

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