The Government of Tanzania sustained a policy of banning pregnant girls and adolescent mothers from continuing with education in public schools ever since the introduction of the Education Act 1978. The initial and subsequent education policies denied many girls across the country their right to education affecting more than 55,000 adolescent girls who are forced to drop out due to various reasons including pregnancy .
Following the revised Education and Training Policy in 2014, In 2015, the Government of Tanzania introduced a fee-free education policy through a Circular No 5 of 2015, making pre-primary, primary and secondary education free . However, more than 40 percent of Tanzania’s adolescents continued to be left out of quality lower-secondary education despite the government’s positive decision to make lower-secondary education free .
However, at the end of the year 2021, the Tanzanian government reviewed those policy position and introduced the re-entry policy in its public schools for girls who dropped out for various reasons including pregnancy.
A decision that came after years of sustained pressure from activists urging the government to abandon what they termed a discriminatory policy.
The revised policy position was followed with Government Circular No 2 of 2021 on re-entry for out of school students followed by guidelines in Feb 2022 which simply emphasized the earlier Circular.
Pregnant schoolgirls will be allowed to continue with formal education after delivery.
Girls will have two years in which to return to school after giving birth, the ministry of education said. However, the move is not legally binding and girls will continue to be banned from class while pregnant.
The two-year window to return to class is necessary to help the girls to be able to follow the classroom instructions because if they come after five years then maybe they will have to start afresh”.
Girls will not be permitted to attend school while they are pregnant because there are a lot of activities which may or may not be favorable for pregnant girls, the situation will not be favorable for the other pupils”.
If a teenage mother does not enroll in school within two years, she can enroll at a paid-for education center, which offers a condensed version of the curriculum.
Link : https://youtu.be/aB0-5ziWj1k
Regardless of these abrupt progressive policy decisions, there are still issues that need to be addressed to provide for the equitable and supportive environment for quality education for all especially students who dropped out due to pregnancy.
In Feb 2022 the Government introduced the implementation of the new police guide , However the Circular and guidelines introduced does not address the specific needs of the pregnant girls and young mothers to continue with their education. The Government communicated directives to the centers that it will cover salaries for teachers and medical services to the girls, and asks stakeholders to support the program while it works on ways to further cover the other needed support to the young mothers once they return to school.
In Pwani Region,Msata Ward, WWT has qualified to serve this program after two visits by the government officials in January 2022.
By March 22nd 2022, Total of 35 young girls has already arrived at the center and studies started.
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