In Zimbabwe, it is now illegal to expel pupils for being pregnant. By making the previous guidelines into law, the government helps tackle gender inequalities and prevent girls from dropping out of school.
“I’m expecting every parent and guardian and everyone else to understand that every child must be assisted by all of us to go to school,” says Cain Mathema, the education minister in charge of schools. “Every child whether boy or girl… has a right to go to school in Zimbabwe.”
In 2018, 12.5% of the 57,500 school dropouts were due to pregnancy or marriage reasons, and most of them were girls. If a boy got a girl pregnant, be it by consensual sex or by force, he would not necessarily be expelled. “This amendment is crucial in fulfilling the access to education right for all children – especially girls,” says Sibusisiwe Ndlovu, communications specialist at Plan International Zimbabwe.