—-The National AIDS Council (NAC) in Eastern Province has expressed concern with the high number of pregnancies in schools in the region.
Regional HIV and AIDS Coordination Adviser, Emmanuel Chama, also said the council was concerned with the mushrooming number of tertiary and secondary schools which did not have boarding facilities for girls.
Mr Chama said some pupils were coming from outlying areas to look for school places in Chipata and when they were accepted, lived in makeshift homes which were a hive for sexual immorality.
He was speaking during a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Education Business meeting held at Luangwa House in Chipata.
Mr Chama noted that in 2012, one urban girls’ school recorded 32 pregnancies and in the following year, the number doubled because most girls allegedly rented their own accommodation.
He observed that sex started at a tender age in society and there was need for concerted efforts to ensure girls in schools did not have unprotected sex.
‘’The issue of pupils finding their own accommodation should be done away with by putting up more secondary schools in areas where they live,’’ Mr. Chama said.
And education stakeholders called for the change in the education policy where condoms should be distributed in schools.
Chipata District Education Board Secretary (DEBS), Kezias Lungu, said parents should stop pretending that children were not having unprotected sex, saying the policy should be reviewed so that condoms are distributed in schools.
But Eastern Province Acting Education Officer, Florence Chikalekale, said the ministry had started working with the Forum for African Women Educationalists in Zambia (FAWEZA) to put up a safe house and employ a matron at one of the schools to look after girls so that they did not engage in promiscuous behaviours.
Ms Chikalekale, however, said funders pulled out and the program could not continue, saying currently the ministry was trying to find out how it would solve the problem.
She said one of the solutions was the creation of ten day secondary schools by government to open up more places and shorten distances pupils walked to learning institutions.
Ms Chikalekale observed that the policy cannot be changed but emphasis should just be on abstinence by the pupils.
The meeting was called to see how the private sector can work with government to improve the education standards in the region through provision of learning infrastructure, school requisites and other related materials.