Manicaland tops school dropout statistics

Provincial Education director Mr Edward Shumba

MANICALAND province recorded the highest number of school drop-outs in the country, statistics from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education revealed.

A total of 9 559 out of 689 255 learners in Manicaland province have dropped out of school since last year.

Provincial Education director Mr Edward Shumba said Manicaland has recorded the highest school dropout rate due to adolescent delinquency, debts, exclusion, illness, child marriages and pregnancies among others.

Mr Shumba said although the numbers are still high, the Ministry is making great efforts to curb the increase.

“Our province has been recording the highest number of school drop-outs in the country since 2017 but now the numbers are stabilising even though it remains high.

“Causes for these drop-outs include adolescent delinquency, debts, exclusion, illness, child marriages, pregnancies among others,” said Mr Shumba.

Among the districts that recorded the highest drop-outs in Manicaland are Chipinge which recorded the highest followed by Mutare, Buhera and Chimanimani districts, in that order.

Chimanimani had 68 being the smallest district in the province. From the total number of school drop-outs in Manicaland, 112 were recorded due to pregnancies while 1 346 were recorded due to financial challenges,” added Mr Shumba.

In a bid to curb the increase in cases of school drop-outs the Ministry is embarking on several activities that include cluster carrier guidance, paying school fees, among others.

“As far as financial issues are concerned, we have our counterparts, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, they come in with the BEAM module, which is a financial assistance through paying school fees. Partners like Plan international, FACT among others are also playing their role in financing underprivileged students.

“On other factors such as exclusion, pregnancy and marriage we have intensified guidance and counselling sessions in schools. We travel in hard to reach areas in order to reach out to the pupils. Recently we went to Makoni district at Nyahondo High School.

“We engage at least one career guidance expert per district to reach out to schools who are financially handicapped. During carrier guidance session, we have our slogan called ‘Marriage is not a career’ in order to remind young women to continue with their education,” said Mr Shumba.