Trust Khosa, Assistant News Editor
SOCIALITES and influencers were on Wednesday expressed mixed feelings over the Education Act Amendment recently passed into law by the President.
Under the new Act, no pupils should be expelled from school on the basis of falling pregnant or non-payment of school fees.
It also stipulates that there is no more corporal punishment of pupils, which has since divided opinions, according to H-Metro’s findings.
- MAI TT
Outspoken comedienne and social commentator Felistas “Mai TT” Murata said the Act gives girls who fall pregnant a new lease of life they needed over the years.
“I’m in agreement with the Act because some of the girls fall pregnant by mistake and there is need to give them a second chance to continue with lessons for the good of their future.
“Expelling them from school will only worsen their plight and even further ruin their future.
“As we allow pregnant girls back in classes, there is need to monitor their condition,” she said.
She however had no kind words to men who impregnate young school going children.
“Those who go around impregnating school-going children have no place in our society and they need to be caged,” she said.
Mai TT also backed the abolition of the corporal punishment saying pupils’ lives were now at risk.
“When a child is misbehaving, it’s better to suspend them or summon their parents to come and answer on their behalf because is we cane them we are not providing the right solution.
“There are some teachers who were abusing pupils under the guise of corporal punishment which has seen some getting injured or affected psychologically,” she said.
- BOSS SPENCER
Events management guru and philanthropist Spencer Madziya backed the Act as a step in the right direction.
“The new Act that has been passed is a step in the right direction in terms of rectifying anomalies that been affecting the girl child.
“For instance, clause 3 of the Act gives empowers disadvantaged as it stipulates that is impermissible to discriminate against a child on admission to school, namely, nationality, class, custom, culture, marital status pregnancy, social status and legitimacy. On this one, the legislature deserves a pat on the back.”
On corporal punishment, he continued:
“The abolishment of corporal punishment does go against the biblical statement that “spare a rod spoil a child” but due to the abuse of children and bullying by senior staffers I believe this will go a long way in ending the wayward teachers who abused corporal punishment and we have to embrace a new way of doing things.”
Selmor Mtukudzi, heiress to the late Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi throne, said there was need for fairness when handling the issue.
“If pregnant girls are being stopped from continuing their education then the boy who is responsible for the pregnancy should be stopped too,” said Selmor.
On the issue of canning, she added:
“’I think pupils should only be caned for being naughty for example if they are caught stealing or fornicating or any such miscellaneous behaviour.
“At no point should a pupil be beaten for failing in a certain subject.”
South Africa based singer Dino Mudondo said there was need to inculcate the culture of abstince among children.
“As a Zimbabwean celebrity with both a boy and a girl child, here is with my opinion on the Education Act Amendment.
“As a family person, first and foremost I would never encourage early child pregnancy but rather educate young boys and girls to stay away from sex,” he said.
Dino was against the idea of allowing pregnant girls back in school as this would set a wrong precedent.
“In the event that a girl becomes pregnant whilst at school, it’s big no for me to allow her in class.
“There should be no space for her to attend lessons, this should be a lesson for other young girls to be careful not to indulge themselves into sex before they finish school and kids should be educated that sex is only allowed after marriage otherwise if we allow one to attend lessons whilst pregnant soon we will have the whole school full of children carrying children in their bellies a turn school into maternity dormitories,” she said.
On the issue of caning pupils, he said:
“Teachers should be allowed to cane pupils because kana nesu takakura tichiziva kuti ukaita musikanzwa unorohwa.”
UK based theatre/film-director and women’s rights advocate, Enisia Mashusha said backed the new Act.
“As sad as it is when school girls become pregnant, they should be encouraged to remain in school as long as possible in order to educate themselves and gain knowledge and skills that will enable them to stimulate their children in a positive way.
“We all know that normal secondary school is not oriented to cater for students who are pregnant, and that it is widely perceived that pregnant girls have potential to negatively influence their peers to be sexually active and become pregnant, but what’s done is done isn’t it?
“I believe excluding a pregnant school girl can only lead to poorly educated mothers and where will this leave the country?” she asked.
“Pregnant girls should be encouraged to further their education and my question is are teen fathers also expected to leave school in support of the girls whom they have made pregnant?”
“ Lastly, to the young girls who are still at school should focus on your education first, you shape up your destiny through empowering yourselves in this case.. Mistakes do happen but let it not be a scapegoats.”
- TONGAI TARUBONA
Similar sentiments were echoed by fellow musician and chief economist with a leading banking institution, Tongai “Chirandu” Tarubona on the basis of morality.
“That is a very dangerous move on both issues. Allowing pregnant girls to attend lessons has a moral hazard of pushing these girls into more indulgence with full knowledge of ‘nothing will happen to me even if’.
“The expulsion that ensued falling pregnant was deterrent enough to prevent unwarranted pregnancies, hence focus was directed on learning, now with the proposed change, it splits the learner’s attention, with unintended adverse consequences.
“Authorities should not allow this, as it sets a wrong precedence.”
On his opinion on the Act which outlaws corporal punishment, he added:
“One issue of not caning of pupils, again this is something which provides breeding ground of a society with no good morals.
“Caning by itself provides some healthy feedback to behaviour(s) which are not supposed to be repeated.
“Caning is appropriate in instilling discipline in kids, with far reaching positive impact on pupils’ education and moral values.
“Ko chaipa chiiko from what used to happen, that’s why by comparison kids of past generations are better in upholding our Ubuntu than those of today.
“Ill-disciplined kids are a misfit in our society, hence I implore authorities to reconsider the previous practices that have already shown good results than to gamble with people’s known good moral values.”
Urban grooves star and producer Nesto also backed the Act but was concerned over the need to be fair
“Well on the girls who fall pregnant, I feel that in the earlier stages of the pregnancy they can continue to be part of lessons, although due stigma and bullying from other students as the it progresses into the last trimester, she can be given school work to do at home, so as to keep up to speed,” she said.
On corporal punishment, he said:
“I feel corporal punishment should be included as it maintains discipline. It makes students know that certain behaviours have consequences.
“Proverbs 13:24, does say he who spares the rod hates his children. All this must also be done within reason without pushing boundaries.”
Popular actress, writer and beautician, Joey Nyikadzino weighed in the debate and said:
“I think pregnant girls should be allowed to attend school because being pregnant doesn’t affect one’s thinking capacity.
“Already as girls in our society we are not groomed for education but for marriage of which many think that it’s an achievement so by allowing pregnant girls to continue with school finally gives them the mind that marriage and getting pregnant are not the final destination to life.”
“If we allow them back in school, they will actually understand the importance of education that it’s a key to many doors hence being able to look up to themselves as ladies not doing anything to get what they can’t afford from men. Let them be and support them.”
Sungura godfather Nicholas “Madzibaba” Zakaria said hailed he Act for giving the girl-child a chance in life.
“I am agreement with the Act and I think the girl-cild deserves a second chance in life. As for corporal punishment, we need still need it because the Bible says the same and this has been the culture which made is men were are today,” he said.
Award-wnning gospel artiste Substation Magacha said:
“Although there are psychological effects to the girl child as she might face stigma from other students and teachers which is not easily controlled, it is not fair to keep her out of school as that is a basic right.
“If she is up to it, she should be counselled and allowed to continue especially when considering equity rule as the responsible boy has not been kept out of school.
“In most cases, the girl child is victim even of older men for economic reasons, why worsen the situation by limiting her empowerment opportunities?”
- COMIC PASTOR
The popular entertainer said backed the Act but said pregnant girls should be isolated.
“We need them back in school but they need to be isolated and allocated their own class,” he said.
“Regarding corporal punishment, we need it back in school because school are now producing rascals who not well-manned,” he added.
- ALLAN CHIMBETU
The dendera music father figure said:
“We all make mistakes in life and pregnant girls should be kept in school. Regarding corporal punishment, bring it back as soon as yesterday,’ he said.