Senior Chief Chiwalo’s area in Phalombe has witnessed 471 girls drop out of school this year from early pregnancies.
This is in spite of the areas registering a 93 percent pass rate in 2017/18 Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations (PSLCE).
The revelations were made recently during an area development committee (ADC) meeting to address the district education management office’s complaint about the drop outs.
Community members have since said they will not relent on preventing girls from sexual relations that fuel early pregnancies and child marriages.
Group village head (GVH) Chimbalanga said in an interview that the meeting agreed to raise awareness of the 2016 district education bylaws that promote children’s rights, especially of girls.
“We have to get communities’ attention to the 19 points we adopted to prevent girls from sexual relations, but promote their access to education. Parents and guardians should be reminded of their responsibilities on child protection because some still cuddle cultural practices that expose girls to sexual activities,” said Chimbalanga.
ADC chairperson, Lawrence Msonthi noted that many communities are ignorant about local legislation.
“Those responsible need the to ensure that every child is in school. Educating our children, especially girls, is crucial to sustainable development of the area,” he said.
Primary education advisor (PEA) for Nswang’oma Zone Divason Gwedeza said parents, too, should be interested in the education of their children.
Senior Chief Chiwalo said he has developed family relations by-laws to complement local education’s efforts to prevent girls from sexual relations that jeopardise their health and access to education.
“I nullified all cultural practices that fuelled child marriages, but it seems others are contravening my order. I will work closely with village committees to ensure these parents are punished accordingly,” he said.
Girls Empowerment Network (Genet) promotes rights of the underprivileged adolescents girls.
Its programme coordinator Yamikani Banda asked chiefs and concerned parties to implement the resolutions in to enable girls advance gender equity.