BY LORRAINE MUROMO
RURAL children, particularly the girl child will be the most affected by the closure of schools due to the COVID-19-induced period, legal consultant and educationist Miriam Tose Majome has said.
Majome told NewsDay in an interview that most rural children have not benefitted from the e-learning facilities provided during the COVID-19 lockdown as they did not have access to electronic gadgets.
She said although some progressive steps had been taken by the government to improve the education of the girl child, there was still need to ensure that more girls were admitted into university programmes.
“There are still instances whereby girls are not prioritised by their families in terms of attaining education. For instance, there is also the need for an increase in the number of girls admitted to higher institutions of learning and universities,” Majome said.
“Access to resources by families is also another factor affecting the cycle of education for the girl child. There are also negative traditional beliefs that education is not valuable for the girl child, particularly those in the remote rural areas and highly-impoverished urban areas,” she said.
Majome said rural girls also faced challenges of travelling very long distances to schools, as well as lack of access to sanitary wear.
“There is no support for rural girls during their menstrual cycles, and so they must not be forced to do some activities that they feel uncomfortable with at schools as it reduces their levels of concentration during studies,” she said.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou recently said that the challenges of walking long distances and hygiene complications faced by girls were the major complications affecting their learning journey.
“Students walk long distances to access schools. It is very sad that our girl children have to endure this challenge of walking long distances while on their menstrual cycles,” Zhou said.
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