Wadau, nimefurahi sana kusikia kuwa huenda hivi karibuni wasichana wanaopata mimba wakiwa wanafunzi wataruhusiwa kuendelea na masomo yao baada ya kujifungua. Nakumbuka kuona wanafunzi wenzangu wengi kusimamishwa shule shauri ya ujauzito. Inasikitisha maana hali yao ya maisha inakuwa chini shauri ya kukosa masomo. Wengine walikufa kwa athari za kutoa hizo mimba.
Nilipouliza kwa nini wasichana hawaruhusiwi kuendelea na masomo, watu walisem, nani atalea hao watoto? Pia walisema eti itafanya wasichana wasitake kufanya ngono. Mbona wanafanya? Na je, kwa nini huyo aliyempa mimba kama ni mwanafunzi hasimamishwi masomo? Kazi kuonea wanawake!
Kama TAMWA watafanikiwa kupitisha hiyo sheria mbona watakuwa mashujaa!
8th September 2009
Tanzania Media Women`s Association (Tamwa) executive director Ananilea Nkya
Girls becoming pregnant while in school might soon be officially allowed to continue with their studies after giving birth.The remote dream will come true if the government endorses a provision in a draft of the new education policy recommending as much.
Allowing the girls to return to school will be an historic move after decade-long appeals from civil society organisations and the donor community to the government to revisit guidelines instructing schools to expel all girls medically proven to be pregnant.
The decision to produce guidelines stipulating procedures to be followed to reduce the incidence of schoolgirl pregnancies and readmitting schoolgirls put in the family way follows recommendations by a team selected by the government in 2007.
The team was detailed to collect views from education sector stakeholders on how best to address the problem of schoolgirl pregnancies.
It came up with findings showing that over 90 per cent of respondents from eight education zones wanted the girls back in school after delivery, while only two per cent stood against the idea.
Amnesty International estimates that some 14,000 schoolgirls were expelled from school in Tanzania between 2003 and 2006.
Winifrida Rutahindurwa, Gender issues coordinator at the Education and Vocational Training ministry, said when contacted for comment that only those schoolgirls becoming pregnant after the new guidelines are put into use would be allowed to return to school if the new policy is approved.
It is understood that the new guidelines will not come into effect before the draft of the new Education and Training Policy is assented to by the Education and Vocational Training minister later this year.
The policy will have to be sent to the Cabinet for approval in two months time before the final draft is relayed to the Parliamentary Social Services Committee for review, after which the Attorney General will prepare a bill from the national policy on education to amend the 1978 National Education Act.
But an education analyst who preferred anonymity said the bill is likely to face strong opposition from a section of Members of Parliament if it bears even a single clause allowing girls who conceive while attending school to continue with studies after delivery.
He said some legislators had shown strong support in previous debates in the House that such girls be expelled from school because they were seen to have misbehaved and thus deserved severe punishment.
“I know some MPs who will do anything and everything in their power to make sure the bill doesn’t sail through because of the feeling that such a move would fuel teenage pregnancies. But the truth is that these girls deserve to go back to school,” said the analyst, a long-serving educationist.
Speaking in a later telephone interview from Kilimanjaro Region, where she is on a mission to find out why Kilimanjaro had no cases involving schoolgirls dropping out of school due to pregnancy, Ms Rutahindurwa said readmitting such girls into school “is definitely not the best or only solution to the problem”.
Society had a role to play to make sure that girls remained in school and in sound health, she said, adding that poverty played a key role in sustaining the problem.
“Most schoolgirls become pregnant because of poverty, but culture also has a role to play in this because there are regions where girls are taught how to engage in sex at a very early age,” noted Ms Rutahindurwa.
According to the Basic Statistics of Tanzania (Best), an annual booklet that provides data on education in the country, Mtwara Region, where initiation ceremonies are common, had the highest dropout rate due to early pregnancies in 2007. More than 435 girls left school after becoming pregnant.
“Girls must be treated equally with their male counterparts. They must be given another chance to continue with education six months after giving birth, as medically recommended. I see this problem affecting poor people the most because it is they who can’t afford taking their children to private schools after expulsion. Our challenge right now is not only to return the girls to school but cut the cases altogether,” observed Ms Rutahindurwa.
According to the draft policy, the participation of girls in education at primary and secondary levels is lower than that of boys because of early pregnancies and changes ought to be made to make guarantee gender equality at all levels of education.
“The government will continue building more boarding girls’ secondary schools and extending the available ones… It will also come up with guidelines to enable female students who become pregnant to continue with their studies after giving birth,” part of the new policy reads.
It adds that the government would also come up with ways to punish all men involved behind schoolgirl pregnancies, but many observers believe that this is much easier said than done.
Tanzania Media Women’s Association (Tamwa) executive director Ananilea Nkya told this newspaper last year that there were no men who were known to have been prosecuted for impregnating schoolgirls. She suggested that the government and society were taking a stance too lenient to help out the victims, meaning the girls being put in the family way so prematurely.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN