Over 60 % Secondary Girl Children Drop From School: Report

“The girls’ study confirmed that community attitudes towards gender roles influence girls’ attitudes towards education especially as they become adolescents with 19 % of respondents having dropped out of school with a massive 67% dropout at secondary level.

“Sexual harassment and abuse by even school teachers and parents , cultural issues, lack of school fees, early marriage, parental commitments and early pregnancies are some of the contributing factors of these drop out by the girl child which we found out in the research, “read part of the report titled “Because I am a Girl, so what about the boy?”  Which Plan International has just launched.

The research was done in all the country’s 10 provinces.

Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister, a Zanu-PF senior official Dr Olivia Muchena who was the guest at the event Friday in Harare, criticised the report saying, “there is no mention of the achievements of the government which has surpassed the targets set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“It does a disservice to the nation because its findings are not a reflection of the situation in the country and if Plan International had included in their report a contextual background of the performance of the education sector the report would have been good”.

In addition the report said long distances that children travel to and from school coupled with the pressures that come with child-headed families were also among some of the barriers that negatively impacted against access to education by the girl-child.

Plan International Zimbabwe’s Communication manager Gladman Njanji told Radio VOP in an interview that they have already approached other development partners dealing with children’s issues so that corrective measures are taken.

“We have engaged organisations like UNICEF who are in agreement with the report findings and we also going to engage government and parliamentarians over this sad development so that together as a nation something is done to address this problem”, he said.

Plan International Zimbabwe, is pushing for the recognition of September 22 as the International Day of the Girl Child as a way of eliminating problems faced by the girl child.