School drop-outs rise in Hurungwe 

Source: School drop-outs rise in Hurungwe | The Herald 20 OCT, 2018

Blessings Chidakwa  Correspondent
Politicians and Government officials in Hurungwe have raised concern over the rise in school drop-outs and absenteeism in tobacco farming areas in the district.

Shortages of labour in the tobacco growing areas of the district and some parts of Mashonaland West Province has seen smallholder farmers relying on children.

The development has also raised issues to do with child labour in these areas.

Authorities have also raised concern on cases of child marriages due to an increase in school dropouts.

Speaking during commissioning of a classroom block at Zebra Downs Secondary School recently, Hurungwe East House of Assembly member Cde Ngoni Masenda warned parents against abusing their children adding that the Zanu-PF Government was against child marriages and labour.

“School dropouts and absenteeism during tobacco season should cease. To parents be warned that you are actually involved in acts of child labour as long as those learners are 18 years and below,” he said.

He said parents who marry off their adolescent children should also face the full wrath of the law.

The school’s headmistress Mrs Endrinah Mukuni had earlier told officials at the commissioning ceremony that scourge of school drop outs and absenteeism rose during the second term of the education calendar.

The second term coincides with the peak of the tobacco farming season.

“This year we had 280 pupils during the first term but the figure dropped to 253. This is now a trend annually during the tobacco faming season. Tobacco is a high paying cash crop and these learners are enticed by its high paying rates,” she said.

Mrs Mukuni blamed parents for the rising cases of school drop outs.

“Girls are not spared from the twin evil of unwanted pregnancies and child marriages as they are lured by cash during tobacco selling season.

“We are putting the blame squarely on the parents who accept lobola while destroying the girl child’s future.”

Meanwhile, Cde Masenda said the classroom block was part of his election promises during the July 31 Harmonised elections.

“Development is at the forefront of Zanu-PF and as the party we are now walking the path in terms of our election promises,” he said.