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Zimbabwean Government Takes Flak for Introducing Maternity Leave for Students

  • Tatenda Gumbo

The previous government policy automatically expelled girls who became pregnant, completely disrupting their education.

The Ministry of Education in Zimbabwe is drawing criticism from conservative groups after announcing a policy halting expulsions of girl students who become pregnant.

The recent policy framework grants students maternity leave of up to three months, after which they can return to their studies. It also entitles male students responsible for the pregnancies to paternity leave.

Authorities say the law is designed to give pregnant students a chance to finish their education. Critics however, believe the policy encourages teenage pregnancies.

Education Minister David Coltart is defending the plan saying instead it will “remove the discriminatory factors and give young women who fall pregnant the chance to continue their education.”

The previous government policy automatically expelled girls who became pregnant, completely disrupting their education.

But critics of the new regulation say they doubt it will lessen the stigma of pregnancy. Government says it is working to combat such skepticism.

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