The Chron­i­cle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

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.’’

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