Pregnant schoolgirls are set to be given maternity vacation if a clause in the Education Amendment Bill that is currently under debate in the National Assembly is passed.
The clause, which will allow the girls to resume their studies after giving birth, reportedly has the backing of legislators.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima recently told lawmakers that the move dovetails with the Constitution of Zimbabwe that advocates for non-discrimination. He said:
There is an issue that has generated a lot of interest among the parliamentarians, and this is the issue of exclusion on account of pregnancy, and the fundamental basis of the inclusion of this issue is premised on Section 75 of the Constitution, which speaks against discrimination.
The current practice in our education system has it that if two forms four learners have an affair and end up impregnating each other — the male student can continue with his education, but the female student cannot, yet section 75 of our Constitution bans discrimination on the basis of gender or sex and it is the basis upon which this item was included in our Bill.
Shamwari Yemwanasikana executive director Mrs Ukenia Chifamba-Chidodo welcomed the move as positive, while lawyer and gender equality activist Ms Jessie Majome said that the move will guarantee the rights of children to education, and to equality and protection from discrimination.