BULAWAYO, Saturday, October 26, 1991 — Pregnancies accounted for the departure of three in four of the pupils who have dropped out of Mpopoma High School in Bulawayo so far this year, according to the headmaster, Cde Hamilton Sibanda.
Speaking at the school’s open day yesterday, Cde Sibanda said by the end of the year, the school will have lost 150 students, and the majority of these – 75 percent – would have left because they were pregnant.
This trend began about three years ago, he said, and there was still no decrease in the rate of pregnancies. ‘’This is most disturbing indeed,’’ said Cde Sibanda.
‘’If for example, we have an intake of 546 Form One students, by the time that group gets to Form Four only 400 of them will still be at school.’’
Cde Sibanda said the other reasons for dropouts included lack of adequate school fees, disgruntlement with weak academic performance and the ability to cope with the conditions at school.
Without elaborating, Cde Sibanda said that this year, only one student left for “a palatable, reasonable or respectable’’ reason.
The regional education director for Matabeleland North, Mr Robert Gordon, refused to comment on the problem and referred all questions to Cde Sibanda.
On staffing, Cde Sibanda said the number of teachers at the school had been reduced from 93 three years ago to 81 and quoted an excerpt from the minutes of a recent departmental meeting which read: ‘’Teachers complained about heavy loads and said these brought down their teaching performance.’’