An evaluation of the Christian and Muslim views on the School re-entry Policy in Zambia

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Luchembe, Kapele Felisters
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In 1997, the government of the Republic of Zambia introduced the School Re-entry Policy which allowed school girls that fell pregnant to return to school after giving birth. This was because all pregnant school girls were being expelled from school and were not allowed to continue with education as such pregnant girls could not contribute to the national development. However, the School Re-entry Policy has been received with mixed feelings. While some sections of society support the initiative, other sections especially the religious organisations do not support and implement the School Re-entry Policy. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the Christians and Muslims views on the School Re-entry Policy. The research used the qualitative design which helped to describe the views of the Christians and Muslims about the School Re-entry Policy. The views were collected through interviewing key respondents who among them were the Education Secretaries and the Executive Director of the three church umbrella bodies, the Education Administrative Manager for the Muslim, head teachers, ordinary members of the religious organisations. The study used some evaluation criteria which helped to evaluate the findings. The evaluation criteria were derived from some educational policy statements. The main findings of the study were that the Christians and Muslims had mixed feelings about the School Re-entry Policy. They cited the School Re-entry Policy to be immoral as it encouraged school girls to fall pregnant since they would still re-enter, they wanted to promote the idea of no sex before marriage and instil sense of responsibility in the school girls so that they may be good people in society. Therefore, Christian and Muslim expelled pregnant school girls from their schools in order to prevent more girls falling pregnant. Moreover, Christian and Muslim official position on the School Re-entry Policy did not promote the education of girls and women in Zambia. Some of the recommendations were that the Christians and Muslims should continue to provide good morals and values to the pupils in their schools for the benefit of the society at large. In addition, the government should engage in dialogue with the Christians and Muslims on the way forward for the pregnant school girls based on the root cause of pregnancies.
Teenage Mothers-Education-Zambia , Dropouts-Education-Government Policy-Zambia