—Education authorities in Solwezi have embarked on the construction of weekly boarding houses to stem pregnancies among school going girls.
And Provincial Education Officer, Jennipher Malama, says the high levels of teen-pregnancies involving school going girls in North Western province are alarming.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Solwezi today, Ms Malama said some girls were opting to rent houses near their schools in order to cut down on the burden of walking long distances to attend secondary education.
She said some unscrupulous men were taking advantage of the girls living without guardians to engage them in unprotected sex.
Ms Malama said her office had since embarked on the construction of weekly boarding facilities and dormitories in selected secondary schools in the province in a bid to reduce the number of pupils dropping out of school due to unwanted pregnancies.
She revealed that a total of 1,845 pregnancies were reported in 2013 with Solwezi accounting for 516 while Kabompo and Mwinilunga reported 367 and 326 respectively.
Ms Malama said Solwezi recorded an increase in the number of pregnancies among girls from 437 in 2012 to 516 in 2013.
She attributed the increase in the number of pregnancies to the rising economic activities in the district especially in areas playing host to mining firms that are attracting huge numbers of people seeking employment opportunities in the companies.
“I would like to appeal to communities in our province to take keen interest in the education of our girls. Parents should collaborate with teachers and monitor the welfare of their children in school, and girls should not be left to rent houses without the supervision of their guardians,” she said.
Ms Malama said her office was working round the clock to ensure that all the girls that fell pregnant were readmitted to school.
She said so far 1,148 of the 1,845 girls that fell pregnant during the year under review had already re-entered school.
Ms Malama said her office would also engage royal highnesses to facilitate community sensitization programmes on the importance of the girl-child education in the province.