Mpwapwa. A total of 165 students in Mpwapwa district, Dodoma have dropped out of schools due to pregnancies between 2015 and March, this year.
The District Secondary Education officer, Mr Lenard Msigwa revealed this during a meeting, which involved members of the women and children protection committee. The meeting was organised by the Children Development Foundation (CDF).
Mr Msigwa said the statistics show that 165 schoolgirls dropped out of schools because pregnancies, but dropped a hint that there were many unreported cases.
“Since January to March this year, a total of 39 girls dropped out of schools due to pregnancies. These are formal statistics, but on the ground, the situation is even worse,” he said.
“There are many challenges in stopping early pregnancies, but we are making progress in the fight against the vice.”
According to him, in 2015, there were 15 dropouts due to early pregnancies while in 2016 and 2017, a total of 42 and 69 cases were reported respectively.
He said parents have been a major barrier in their fight against early pregnancies because most of them do not prefer resolution of the problem through legal systems due to weaknesses of the Marriage Act of 1971.
“The Marriage Act of 1971 allows a girl to be married at the age of 14 upon the consent of her parents,” he said.
The CDF head of operations, Mr Evance Rwamuhuru said the aim of establishing women and children protection committees was to increase the fight against early pregnancies in the district.
The principal magistrate at Mpwapwa district magistrate court, Ms Nuruprudensia Nassari said those who were arraigned over pregnancies were also the same suspects of rape.
“All cases we are receive are those of rape, which in most cases cause pregnancies for the minors,” she said.