Chiefs in Blantyre want government to ban wearing of miniskirts in schools describing it as one of the contributing factors to increased sexual assualt cases amongst the school-going girls.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Malawi Education Sector Improvement Programme (MISEP) sensitization meeting held at Bandawe Schools in Blantyre, Traditional Authority Machinjiri osaid many of the young girls were subjected to sexual abuse mainly because of their ‘inappropriate clothes’ .
“How do you expect men to resist when girls have dressed in a seducing manner, we need to bring back good morals in schools. During our time, girls wore skirts beyond their knees as such, rape cases were very rare.
“While we advocate for promotion of girls education and that we join hands in retaining them in school, we must also seriously consider about the dressing code,” said T/A Machinjiri.
The Chief said though freedom of dressing was a fundamental right in the Constitution, there was need to put a control on school children, especially how they should dress mainly in school and also at home.
Senior Chief Kapeni said apart from rape cases, early pregnancies as well as early marriages amongst girls in schools were also as a result of the way they dress.
“I vehemently support that dressing that expose body parts of a girl child should be banned. Let’s not allow foreign culture kill the future of our girls. The Ministry of Education must take this issue seriously,” he said.
The chief added, “Those who formulated the Constitution are people and they can as well amend it on dressing in schools so that there is discipline and sanity while also allowing girls to complete their education.”
District Education Manager (DEM) for Blantyre Responsible for Primary Education, Paul Chiphanda acknowledged irresponsible dressing as a major threat to girls in schools.
Chiphanda said because girls were not dressing responsibly, men took advantage and engaged them in sexual activities.
“What the chiefs are saying is very genuine and there has to be a mechanism to control this. We have tried to sensitize schools on this but still the Constitution has more power if we need to see a change,” said Chiphanda.
Jeremiah Kankuza, one of the MESIP project managers in the Ministry of Education said the ministry will need to evaluate the chiefs’ concerns and determine the way forward.
“This could be a big issue not only in Blantyre but across the country. However, we still need to have voices from other districts. But we are not condoning dressing of miniskirts, a girl is supposed to dress properly so that she does not seduce men and fall in the trap,” Kankuza said.
He said as a temporary measure, communities could develop by-laws and stop such a behaviour in schools within their community.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :