Educating Girls: A Critical Analysis of the Impact of Keeping Girls in School Initiative, Petauke, Zambia

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Building Resilience // In 1997, the Minister of Education in Zambia then, Dr. S. Siyamujaye announced that schoolgirls who become pregnant would no longer be expelled. The girls who had been expelled in that year were allowed to return to school. The directive showed serious commitment towards the education of girls. Hence, the Re-Entry Policy mandates schools to allow girls who fall pregnant or left school due to early marriages back into school system (MOE,1997). // Further, in the pursuit to educate girls, the Government of the Republic of Zambia is working with cooperating partners to eradicate the vices and borrowed funds from World Bank in 2016 to support the ‘Girls' Education and Women's Empowerment and Livelihood. Through ‘Keeping Girls in School (KGS) initiative’ the government has been providing bursaries to girls whose parents/guardians were identified to be vulnerable and who were beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer Programme. // The project objective is to support the Government of Zambia to increase access to livelihood support for women and access to secondary education for underprivileged adolescent girls in extremely poor households in selected districts, and Petauke is among the benefiting districts in Zambia. // Despite all these efforts to educate the girl-child, mitigate teenage pregnancies and child marriages, the ministry has continued receiving reports of dropouts due to covid-19, high poverty levels, tradition and culture, teenage pregnancies and early marriages. // The findings revealed that the KGS initiative has positively impacted on girls’ education as Memory Lungu, a learner at Petauke Boarding Secondary School states, “The KGS initiative is good. This is because some of us, our parents cannot manage to pay for us in school. The Government is helping us through KGS and we are grateful” (MOGE Magazine 2021). // The investigation involved 32 out of 53 benefiting schools; sampled and interviewed 100 out of 2,767 beneficiaries. The researcher used mixed research methods. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected using the automated google form, one-on-one phone call interviews and also analysed some data using Microsoft excel. // Therefore, in order to keep pregnant dropouts and out-of-school girls in the education process, government should consider investing in open schooling as it provides access to distance and online methods which can support self-directed learning of Girls anytime and anywhere while on maternity leave or out-of-school. // Paper ID 5815

Women and Girls' Education,Gender,Secondary Education