Chikwawa District director of education, youth and sports Chrissie Chimsale says about 709 learners will drop out of school as 632 have become pregnant while the rest have gone into marriage.
The development comes after schools reopened yesterday for examination classes only following their closure in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an interview, Chimsale said the girls faced sexual abuse during their stay at home.
“The right to education is compromised, especially among girls who are vulnerable to social pressure,” she said.
Despite the development, Chimsale said the district was well-prepared to reopen schools as directed by the Ministry of Education.
“We are almost done with all preparations for reopening of schools this Monday [yesterday] such as training head teachers on how to make face masks which will be distributed to vulnerable learners,” she said.
Save the Children Chikwawa District Apatseni Mwayi Atsikana Aphunzire Project coordinator Hellina Mwimba said they will continue to work with Chikwawa District Education Office to promote girls’ education.
“The project ensures that girls attain education in the district,” she said.
The five-year project started in 2016 with funds from United States Agency for International Development.
The project is also being implemented in Mzimba, Balaka, Machinga and Phalombe districts.