Pregnancy Remains Barred In Zim Schools

In a statement released Sunday, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Stephen Mahere said the law does not allow a pregnant pupil to remain in school or any school boy responsible for it to continue with his studies as it is against the law.

“Learners in all schools may be suspended, excluded or expelled from school for various acts of misconduct of a serious nature. Pregnancy of a learner, and being responsible for it, are such an example of misdemeanour of a serious nature. The law provides for the exclusion of a learner who falls pregnant and expulsion of a learner responsible for it,” Mahere said.

“The Ministry wishes to advise members of the public of the correct position as provided for in Statutory Instruments 362 and 363 of 1998, both of which were translated into the Secretary’s Policy Circular No. 35 of 8th October, 1999.”

Mahere said a pregnant school girl can only be re-admitted back to school three months before examinations after consultation between the parents and the school. An expelled boy responsible for the pregnancy can only be re-admitted back into school after twelve months with the approval of the Ministry of Education.

 “The excluded girl may, on consultation between the school and her parents/ guardians, be re-admitted back into school earlier than 3 months for purposes of writing examinations and in any case, may be re-admitted in the same Grade/Form in which she was at least 3 months after confinement. The interest of a girl learner and the child to be born are considered paramount,” Mahere said.

“The expelled school boy responsible for the pregnancy may be considered for re-admission to another school, as a sanction for the serious misdemeanour of being responsible for the pregnancy, after a period of twelve months.”

“It should be noted that the admission of the boy learner is not automatic as approval by the Ministry must be sought and granted before readmission in any other formal school,” Mahere said.

Mahere said because of the reasons pregnant school children cannot be allowed to go for a maternity or paternity leave.

“From the afore-cited, there cannot be maternity or paternity leave for learners in schools. In this regard, it can only be exclusion or expulsion from school,” Mahere said.