Evance Chisiano- Mana
Liwonde based youth non-governmental organization, Youth Impact carried out a study which has revealed that self-boarding among secondary school girls in Machinga is contributing to high school dropout.
Youth Impact Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Steve Chaguza disclosed this at Liwonde in Machinga during the dissemination of the study report Friday.
A sample study in three public and two private secondary schools of Mbenjele, Liwonde Conventional Secondary Schools, Liwonde Community Day Secondary School, Mawila and Mlatho Private Secondary Schools has shown that 64 girls drop out of school due to pregnancies this year, according to Chaguza.
“Out of the girls, 38 were attending secondary school operating from self-boarding,” he added saying this has a negative impact on levels of education in the district.
The youth nongovernmental organization has since blamed the trend on early sex and lack of sexual reproductive health education among girls.
The Youth Impact disclosed that early marriages encouraged by parents and guardians and prostitution are among factors that affect girls’ education.
The Youth Impact conducted the study in Traditional Authorities Kawinga, Liwonde, Sitola, Nsanama and Nkoola in collaboration with the National Youth Council and Malawi Human Rights Youth Network between May and June 2016 as the study also noted that due to the drop outs, many girls resort to prostitutions to survive in life.
“Machinga will produce many sex workers if the trend remains unchecked,” Chaguza observed while appealing to Machinga District Council to discuss with traditional chiefs to formulate by laws to protect girls from factors that negatively affect girl’s education and life.
Machinga District council Director of Planning and Development, Michael Chimbalanga said Machinga will soon have by laws to safe guard girl’s education as Machinga’s 20 public secondary schools are non-boarding schools with girls from distant places stay on rental houses with no teacher supervision.
A nongovernmental organization that promotes girls education, Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) supported formulation of bylaws in Machinga which are waiting for full council approval
Chimbalanga commended the Youth Impact for conducting the study which he said will help the district to implement research based project to address gender related problems.
Recently CAMFED engaged landlords around secondary schools where most learners resort to self-boarding as solution to walking long distances to school.
The organization engaged the landlords after noting laxity among girls in the self-boarding resulting into most of them dropping out of school due to pregnancy
To this effect, the director of planning and development called on partner organizations in the district to implement projects that will help to improve girls’ education.
Source: Nyasa Times