Mpasa Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSS) in Phalombe Monday started the second term of the 2017/2018 academic year with 30-girls less due to unexpected pregnancies, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has learnt.
The 30 girls who were all beneficiaries of various school fees bursary programmes provided at the school are said to have gotten pregnant during and after the first term which started in September and ended in December 2017.
Speaking in an interview with Mana on Tuesday, head teacher for the school, Herbert Msasa confirmed the mass drop out and has described it as a blow to the fight for the girl child’s education.
According to the head teacher, while it would be expected that most students would drop out of school due to lack of financial support from their guardians and well-wishers, it was sad to note that provision of school bursary has not solved any problems as it turns out.
“In the past we have had one or two girls drop out of school in a year, but having 30 girls dropping out in a term is something that leaves us with no possible explanations. Only the girls themselves can best explain the reasons why they fell into such traps,” Msasa pointed out .
He said the only reason that he finds fitting for the occasion is lack of sexual reproductive health information and services which would assist them in escaping teenage pregnancies.
A teacher and patron for School Health in Nutrition HIV and AIDS (SHINHA) at the school, Yohane Zakariya blamed the impregnated girls for not being able to handle popularity in school.
“Most of the bursary schemes provides enough for almost every needy girl child to remain in school, starting from school uniforms and sanitary pads to school fees and learning materials. In so doing, their parents are at ease that they can buy them clothes occasionally since they are no longer at pressure to produce school fees and all the other school needs. As such, these girls begin to look good, which puts them on the spotlight for men in the villages and boys at school,” he viewed.
He hoped that provision of sexual reproductive health information and services to both girls and boys in school would reduce the rate at which they impregnate each other.
A form 4 student, Irene Masamba who is under a school bursary, said once she was enrolled into the bursary and started to look good, she began receiving advances from men and boys who had never talked to her before.
She added that she was able to stand against the pressure unlike the other 30 girls who have become the education system’s worry in the district.