Fight against stigma at schools to be amplified: Parliamentarians

By ZBC Reporter
THE reopening of schools has seen sexual reproductive rights coming under the spotlight following the enactment of the Education Amendment Act which allows pregnant girls to continue with their studies.
The Zimbabwe Junior parliament has described the education amendment Act allowing pregnant girls to continue with studies as a positive development in protecting the girl child.
Junior parliamentarians who attended a Portfolio committee on primary and secondary education workshop held in Mutare this weekend emphasised the importance of improving access to sexual reproductive health care services at schools.
“It’s important for policymakers to know what we experience as young people at schools. It’s important to have young people who are surrounded by knowledgeable people in order to make informed decisions. We need to introduce condoms in schools.
“The church and traditional leaders should play their part in promoting sexual reproductive rights with reporting channels on sexual reproductive rights violations being wide open,” they said.
Parliamentarians spoke on the need for increased collaboration between schools and health facilities.
“There are mental, physical and emotional capacities that affect effective learning that needs to be given prominence. We need to reach out to the communities, traditional leaders and the society, in general, to have aby-in in promoting sexual reproductive rights. Capacity building for teachers is required with guidance and counselling being taken as part of the syllabus. We need an attitude and behavioural change on the part of educators.
“The law already provides for pregnant girls to be kept at schools. We, therefore, need to create a supporting environment to do away with stigma. Schools must be linked with health facilities to promote care system at institutions of learning. There is also a need to have sanitary wear for schools that is sustainable,” they said.
Apart from sexual reproductive health issues taking centre stage, the reopening of schools calls for continued compliance with Covid-19 precautionary measures to ensure the safety of both learners and facilitators.