Govt won’t leave the girl child behind

By Memory Chamisa

Supporting adolescent girls through education has been cited as key in ensuring that they reach their full potential.

Government, together with various development partners, is working together in ensuring that girls are empowered despite facing social setbacks.

Skills enhancement for young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who dropped out of school has been the major drive of Plan International’s ‘Supporting Adolescent Girls Education project’ (SAGE), with over 12 000 girls benefitting from the programme countrywide.

“I dropped out of school because no one could help me in paying the school fees. So, the vocational training programme has greatly assisted me as now I am a hair dresser and making a living out of it. At the same time, I am doing my studies,” says one young woman who benefited from the project.

Said another: “I dropped out of school in Grade 2 and I am deaf. So, my life has been difficult since I had no skills training, but I am grateful to the government and partners for such a programme that has given me a new lease of life.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mrs Thumisang Thabela emphasised the importance of supporting the girl child.

“The government will continue to make sure that the girl child is supported through various programmes being implemented and such programmes with development partner are welcome.”

Plan International head of programmes, Antoinette Ngoma says her organisation will continue working with government to ensure sustainability of the programme.

“Education is a tool for self-realisation, any socio-economic nation is developed through a robust education system. The girl’s ought to be given a second chance in life, to be able to have a voice, destiny, an education that speaks to their very situation and work a way out hence the partnership with different government ministries,” she said.

In 2020, Government amended the education policy to allow back into school those girls who would have fallen pregnant and also afford them a chance to sit for their final exams as many cases of school drop outs had been recorded due the COVID-19 lockdown.