–The Ministry of Education in Eastern Province has described early marriages and unplanned pregnancies as the most critical challenges to education of the girl child.
Acting Provincial Education Officer, Lina Kamanga, said there is need to address issues of early marriages and unwanted pregnancies if the province is to achieve Millennium Development Goals on education.
Speaking at a public dialogue forum on how well the situation of out of school children can be addressed, Ms Kamanga also stated that rural communities are still upholding the traditional beliefs such as initiation ceremonies for both boys and girls.
Mrs Kamanga noted that children are compelled to drop out of school due to lack of places after qualifying to either Grade 8 or 10.
She also noted that the long distances the pupils have to cover in order to reach the nearest high school remains another challenge.
She, however, stated that government, in collaboration with the social community and non-governmental society, has outlined several interventions to help reduce the scourge.
Speaking at the same forum, FAWEZA Executive Director, Agness Shipanuka, called for education for all and gender equality in education, saying it will build sustainable development solutions for Zambia.
Ms Shipanuka said Zambia should, therefore, promote quality education which addresses issues that pose as barriers to children coming from poor and marginalised families including risks that threaten their participation in schools.
She urged the teaching community and parents to enhance awareness of the re-entry policy as it accords a girl child to complete her education despite the circumstances.
Ms Shipanuka described education for all as a necessity
which cannot be bargained for or questioned about.