School heads reject pregnant students

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

SECONDARY school heads have warned the proposed law seeking to allow pregnant school girls back into classrooms will turn learning institutions into virtual maternity wards.

This follows a proposal through the Education Amendment Bill that pregnant girls should be readmitted to class after they deliver and should not be excluded or suspended from class.

Speaking at the National Association of Secondary Heads (Nash) conference in Victoria Falls, the association’s acting president Arthur Maphosa said pregnant girls should be sent to non-formal schools for adult education so they do not become bad apples in the conventional institutions.

With close to 2 000 heads in agreement, Maphosa said: “If we don’t speak against this, we will soon be maternity wards.

“We can’t have mothers coming to school and taking time off to attend to their babies while lessons are waiting for them.

“Other learners will copy bad practices. Let’s ask ourselves whether this is best practice and can’t they go to non-formal schools.”

Maphosa also said banning corporal punishment in schools was a mistake by the country as this will lead to delinquent behaviour in the society.

The Constitutional Court recently confirmed a High Court order outlawing corporal punishment for juveniles at school and at home.

Maphosa said Zimbabwe was adopting a policy which some countries were now trying to discard.

“In the United States, they are trying to bring back corporal punishment yet we are saying thou shall not beat a child,” he said.

Maphosa said the ban on corporal punishment will lead to gross indiscipline within schools, adding that teachers will at the same time be at the mercy of authorities who are going to complain about lack of order in schools.

He encouraged his colleagues to attend consultative meetings so they could make contributions towards crafting of such policies.

The headmasters urged government to consult teachers before enacting any policy in education.