PRIMARY and Secondary Education ministry chief director for formal and non-formal education Olivia Kaira has said child marriages are stifling the economic development of girls.
Reports state that approximately 34% of girls under the age of 18 are being married off.
Speaking last week at the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) essay awards ceremony for students who excelled in an essay writing competition on child marriages, Kaira said child marriages were a form of forced unions with under-aged children.
“They are a violation of laid down regulations that safeguard the interests of children and have resulted in grave human rights violations against children,” Kaira said.
“These rights include the right to education, the right to human dignity, freedom from cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, the right to personal security and the right to protect the best interests of the child in all matters as enshrined in the Constitution.”
The national schools essay writing competition, whose topic was Child Marriages, Causes and Effects Towards ending Child Marriages by 2030 was organised by ZLHR and the Primary and Secondary Education ministry.
The competition targeted high school students in all non-examination classes, namely Forms 1, 2, 3 and 5.
Six students were honoured as winners, with Lower Six pupil at Zwangendaba Secondary School in Lupane, Natalie Ndlovu crowned the winner.
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A total of 1 908 entries were received from six provinces namely Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands. Matabeleland South had the highest number of entries of 800 while Mashonaland Central had 483, Mashonaland East (219), Midlands (125), Mashonaland West (227) and Matabeleland North with 54.
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