World Vision Malawi (WVM) has asked government to fully finance the education sector and protect education budgets from potential cuts.
In an interview in Lilongwe on Friday during a meeting with parliamentary committees of Education as well as Social and Community Affairs, WVM advocacy, communications and child protection manager Lizzie Lombe urged government to facilitate supportive measures for pregnant girls and adolescent mothers to continue with their education.
She said: “We had to meet with the two committees to share with them the report that World Vision International conducted on how Covid-19 has affected the education sector and how children’s rights have been infringed on due to the pandemic.
“Our report recommends a number of items, including the need to increase funding for the education sector, as one way of cushioning challenges that arise amid crises like the one we are in currently.”
Lombe added that the report captures voices of various stakeholders in the education sector, particularly children who have been greatly impacted by Covid-19.
In his remarks, Social and Community Affairs Committee chairperson Savel Kafwafwa said they are concerned with the rising numbers of early marriages and teenage pregnancies which have forced many young girls to drop out of school.
“Our committee understands that issues of pregnancy and contraceptives still cause misunderstandings between parents in our communities. But what we need is to find solutions on how best we can solve issues of teenage pregnancies.
“Also because children were out of school for a long time since the pandemic started, the problem escalated and time has come for stakeholders in the education sector to hold hands and solve this problem,” he said.
Among others, the report reveals that overall, teenage pregnancies in the country have increased during the Covid-19 period, having registered 40 000 cases.