Child marriages surge

Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter
School heads in Magunje district in Mashonaland West Province have expressed concern over the rampant cases of child marriages in the area and urged the public to report such cases to police. Some primary school pupils have reportedly been married off after dropping out of school for failure to pay school fees. This came out during a two-day Magunje Strategy Workshop Programme which was running under the theme, “Assessing Progress To-Date; Revitalising Zim-Asset—Strategy for sustainable Development” held in Magunje recently.

Speaking on behalf of school heads, Sadze Primary School headmaster Mr Zvavanoda Makono said they were concerned with such cases. “We are concerned with the practice of child marriages. If you marry a primary school child, I will not hesitate to report you to the police. Please report such cases as it is a violation of children’s rights,” he said.

He urged parents and villagers to report any teachers who sexually abuse pupils.

Mr Makono pleaded with Magunje legislator Dr Godfrey Gandawa who is also the deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science & Technology Development to assist them and the pupils in the area access quality education.

School development committee representative Mrs Blessing Kashiri also expressed concern over parents who were failing to pay fees for their children.

She said such cases were rampant and this had resulted in some of the pupils dropping out of school.

“We are concerned with parents who are failing to pay school fees for their children, but at the same time we are happy that Dr Gandawa is making efforts to make sure that all schools are developed,” she said.

Mrs Kashiri said there was a poor pass rate at most schools in the district and said that some of the teachers needed strict supervision.

“We have noticed that during school days, some teachers are found in beer-halls and bottle stores during working hours and this should stop,” she said.

Dr Gandawa said parents who were failing to pay fees for their children should be arrested.

“Parents who are not paying school fees for their children should be arrested as they are violating children’s rights. Parents should take the education of their children seriously,” he said.

He donated cement and roofing sheets worth thousands of dollars to some of the schools. He is also assisting in building blocks at some of the schools that are under construction.

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