|Zimbabwe President, Emmerson Mnangagwa|
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has amended the Educational Acts in the country to allow girls who fall pregnant to continue attending school.
The law also stops teachers from caning pupils and pupils shall not be excluded from school for non-payment of school fees.
Prior to the amendments of the law, school authorities could expel a girl for falling pregnant but spare the boy responsible for the act, which was seen as discriminatory against the girl-child.
Speaking on the matter, Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta)’s Chief Executive Officer, Sifiso Ndlovu, said he was excited that the President has signed the law as most of what was raised by the association were included in the law.
Ndlovu thanked the President for removing corporal punishment from the system of education in the country, that it was accepted because it has been a tool for instilling discipline on the pupils for years but it has the ability to engender a violent society.
He added that the outlawing of the exclusion of pregnant pupils will help in the furtherance of the rights of the girl-child.
“As Zimta, we fully participated in the crafting of that law.“Most of what we raised have been included.“We abhor the use of corporal punishment because it is an old-fashioned tool of instilling discipline.“It has the effect of engendering a violent society.“We also support any measure meant to safeguard the interests and rights of the girl-child.“One such provision is outlawing the exclusion of those that fall pregnant.“This is what other societies have embraced and we fully support the provision,’’ he said
However, the Secretary-General, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Raymond Majongwe, decried the new law saying that some girls could take advantage of it.
He added that there should be more consultation on the issue of corporal punishment as pupils could engage in illicit behavior, knowing that they would not be punished.
“There should have been more consultation on these measures, especially on corporal punishment.“Pupils and students may end up abusing drugs, knowing they will not be punished,’’ he said.
The new law also allows the minister to fix school fees, taking into consideration the location and status of a given school.