A Rumphi based non-governmental organization has expressed concern that school dropout rate among girls in the district due to early marriages and teenage pregnancies remains high despite efforts to curb the problem.
Life Concern Organization (LICO), Executive Director, Peter Gondwe expressed the concern during this year’s Forum for Early Marriages and Teenage Pregnancies which drew girls from various secondary schools in the district.
“Early marriages and teenage pregnancies remain big problems which continue to fuel increased school dropout rate among girls in the district. We are still losing a lot of girls to early marriages.
“What is paining is that some of the students we have lost are those we were assisting. Like recently five girls dropped out of the school opting for marriage yet we had paid for their school fees and given them all basic necessities,” Gondwe explained.
He disclosed that 15 girls whom his organization had withdrawn from early marriages, and provided with support to go back to school have re-married.
Gondwe also expressed disappointment with the other 25 girls his organization had been supporting with books, stationery and other basic necessities but have also dropped out of school prematurely.
The day long indaba his organization had organized at which women who hold high profile positions in the district both in public and private sector spoke as role models, was aimed at finding what was making girls to continue dropout from school.
“We thought of organizing this event because we want to hear from you directly what is going on. Through the discussion we can identify gaps that are there which then will help us to come with solutions to assist you,” Gondwe told the audience.
According to Webster Mkandawire, Coordinating Primary School Education Advisor (PEA) for Rumphi district three percent of girls drop out from school annually against two per cent of boys in the district.
He attributed continued high dropout rate among girls to long distances the girls travel to access education, few boarding facilities and poor infrastructures in schools which are not friendly to girl child.
“We have several challenges which are negatively impinging on girls’ education in our district. In some area girls travel about long distances to attend classes. We have some schools like Mwazisi where learners walk a distance of over four kilometres,” explained Mkandawire.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :