On Tuesday, a 15-year-old student at Loreto High School in Kwekwe District, Zimbabwe, gave birth to a live baby in front of her teachers and classmates. The student, who has not been named for ethical reasons, reportedly went into labor and gave birth at the school’s hostels.
The school’s head, Phillip Mapiravana, confirmed the incident, stating “Yes, it is true, the girl was doing Form Three at our school. She is safe and we have since notified her parents in Gweru. That is all I can say for now.”
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has arranged for the child to receive post-natal care and has deployed learner welfare officials to assist the student and other pupils at the school. A spokesperson for the ministry, Taungana Ndoro, confirmed that “one of our learners gave birth in the hostels and is she is presently receiving post-natal attention. The school led by the health coordinator, who is a trained teacher, assisted her in giving birth.”
It is not known at this time who the father of the child is or the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy. Under Zimbabwean law, it is illegal to engage in sexual activity with a minor under the age of 18.
The student will likely be allowed to continue her education at the school, as the amended Education Act prohibits the expulsion of pregnant students.
This incident highlights the ongoing issue of teenage pregnancies in Zimbabwe, and the need for society to address the issue. The incident has sparked a debate over whether students who fall pregnant should be readmitted to school or expelled as a deterrent for other students.