By BILKE MULENGA
Ms. Happiness Chirwa, a female teacher in Situmbeko Area, Shibuyunji District, off Mumbwa Road ( 65 -85km West of Lusaka)has urged parents and guardians of a girl child who have not made it to go to upward grades not to send them into marriage, but to encourage them continue with their education.
Ms Happiness Chirwa said parents and guardians should take the advantage of the ‘’New Dawn’’ Government pronouncements of free education and encourage their children to be re-enrolled back in schools.
She said failing an examination could not be a thing to frustrate parents and lead a child to stop school and be sent into early marriage.
Ms Chirwa said with the free education system by the United Party for National Development (UPND) Government there was a greater opportunity for a girl child to continue with education for her to become a better citizen in future and help to contribute to the development of the nation.
She emphasized that free education was a good ‘’gift’’ that the UPND Government under the leadership of
Hakainde Hichilema had offered to all Zambian people.
She said that it needed to be embraced and utilized and make sure that a girl child was given a chance to benefit from the same gesture.
She however, regretted that following the recent announcement of Grade Seven and Nine examinations, some parents and guardians whose girl children had failed to make it to upward grades would opt to send them into marriages at the expense of education.
Ms Chirwa stressed that failing examination by a girl child should not warrant her to stop school, but parents to find means and ways of ensuring that such a child was re-enrolling back in school and continuing with education to go up to Grade 12 and subsequently tertiary level.
‘’Failing examinations is not the end of the world and it doesn’t mean that if a pupil fails examinations should stop school, but to use available means of continuing with the education,’’ she said.
Ms. Chirwa said in an interview in Situmbeko area that the trend of marrying off a girl child from school was very common in rural communities.
The youth secondary school teacher said she was always saddened to hear that a girl child was married off from school; as such she was ready to work with any organization in sensitizing a girl child on the importance of education.
‘’As a female and a youth teacher, it always pains me to see a girl child withdrawn from school and sent into marriage. This is very common in rural communities and I know even this year after the Grade Seven and nine examination results hundreds of girls who have failed examinations will not be given chances by their parents or guardians to repeat, hence to will be told to go and get married,’’ Ms. Chirwa observed’
Ms. Chirwa has since appealed to all Non – Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other groupings in the country that are championing Human Rights to embark on serious sensitization of parents and guardians to give their girl child opportunities to pursue education.
Ms. Chirwa said civil societies were supposed to go in rural communities where the issue of marrying off a girl child from school was rampant.
Ms. Chirwa commended those civil societies that had already set precedence of going in rural communities and encouraged them not to relent from doing so.
‘’I know there are some NGOs that go out in rural areas to meet traditional leaders, parents and other stakeholders to encourage them to send their girls to school. I wish to commend them so much for that. As a teacher and a youth I have a great passion for encouraging a girl child to go to school and push further until she acquires maximum education,’’ advised Ms. Chirwa.