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25.11.2021 12:57 News >> Tanzania Allows Pregnant Girls To Go Back To School

Tanzania Allows Pregnant Girls To Go Back To School

More than 55,000 Tanzanian schoolgirls were kicked out of school over last decade for being pregnant.

By Kizito Makoye
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AA) — In an unprecedented move, the Tanzanian government allowed pregnant girls to resume their schooling, ending a controversial ban on pregnant students attending school.
More than 55,000 Tanzanian schoolgirls have been kicked out of school over the last decade for being pregnant, women's rights campaigners said.
The East African nation has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy and birth rates in the world and 21% of girls aged 15 to 19 have given birth, according to a 2015/16 survey conducted by the Tanzania Bureau of Statistics.
While sex with underage girls is criminalized in Tanzania, parents in rural areas often use a special privilege granted under the 1971 marriage law which allows girls as young as 15 to marry with parental or court's consent.
Joyce Ndalichako, Tanzania's minister of education, Wednesday told reporters in the capital Dodoma that the government will now allow all students who dropped out of school due to pregnancy will return to school in a formal system after giving birth.
President John Magufuli, who died in March, reaffirmed the ban dating back to the 1960s, saying teen mothers would set a bad example for other girls.
The ban on pregnant students and adolescent mothers attending school has denied tens of thousands of girls their right to education, Human Rights Watch said.
Last year, the Tanzanian government announced that it would allow students who were pregnant or were mothers to enroll in an "alternative education pathway."
Girls' rights campaigners, however, expressed concern over the move and demanded the Tanzanian government end punitive and discriminatory practices against girls.
Jean-Paul Murunga, an expert with Equality Now, a global girls' rights charity, welcomed the move allowing girls to access education unimpeded.
The government must set up a multi-stakeholder process to ensure that the vulnerability of girls is taken care of and necessary structures are established in and out of schools to effectively support girls in the education system, said Murunga. -



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