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Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has said that schoolgirls who get pregnant will not be allowed back to school, arguing that their return could "encourage other girls to engage in sex".
The president also accused some NGOs, which have been urging the Tanzanian government to allow teen mothers to continue their education, of being used by foreign agents.
“There are many things that girls who are impregnated can do after delivery, they can join VETA (Vocational Education Training Authority) centres, they can learn sewing but they can’t go back to school,” he said.
“If we were to allow them back to school, one day we will find all girls who are in Standard One have babies,” the president insisted.
Pressure on the government to allow teen mothers back to school has been mounting.
NGOs who have been fighting for girls’ rights to education have been urging the government to formulate a legal framework that would allow teenage mothers to resume their studies after giving birth.
Addressing a press conference, John Kalage, executive director of HakiElimu, a non-profit civil society organization, noted that early pregnancy as a result of underage sex was among the factors that made schoolgirls fail to finish their studies.
The Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) and the Social Service and Community Development Parliamentary Committee as well as the opposition camp in Parliament also joined the fray to allow teen mothers back to school.