According to statistics by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) ABOUT 20 400 pupils in the country dropped out of primary school in 2018. The reasons vary from financial constraints, illnesses and some are being married “Reasons for dropping out include absconding, death, expulsion, illness, marriage, pregnancy and financial constraints. A total of 9 200 pupils absconded school under unclear circumstances and 6 717 dropped out due to financial challenges,” read the report. “About 1 154 pupils died during the same year and 2 164 dropped out due to other reasons which were not specified during data capturing. A total of 112 students were expelled while 180 dropped out of school due to early and unintended pregnancy and an additional 231 dropped after they were married off.” In an interview, former Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima said Government was already working towards addressing the challenge. “First, I believe some pupils end up dropping out because of the ignorance of their parents and guardians. According to Government policy, no child should be excluded from school due to non-payment of school fees and we have since reinforced that in the new Education Amendment Bill,” said Prof Mavima. He highlighted that parents know that there is Basic Education Assistance Module which pays for orphans and parents that cannot afford to pay for fees. He said that if there are schools that can afford to do the feeding program without the government's help should do should go ahead so as to try to reduce the numbers of school dropouts amongst children.
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