EASTERN Province permanent secretary Chanda Kasolo says 1,607 boys and 2,189 girls dropped out of school in the province in the first half of last year.
Briefing journalists at his office, Kasolo said 46 of the boys dropped out of school because they married.
“Can you imagine how disgusting it is? You go and get married – you 16 or 18 – you leave school, it’s unbelievable. Again we need to educate our people to make sure they understand the importance of education,” he said. “You can never come out of that village and the poverty just digging using a hoe and think that you are going to be a farmer. You need to go and learn and to read and write and then you can learn about farming methods and go back and produce five or 10 tonnes more than what you used to produce when you were not educated.”
Kasolo said 1,561 pupils dropped out of school because of economic issues.
“That really breaks my heart because these are the ones that are denied a chance. The 46 (that went into early marriages) they are fools because they fell into it by themselves to go and get married when they are still young, they are fools,” he said. “So normally whatever you say to a fool will never ever change them. But these 1,561 who dropped out because of economic reasons as a province we need to find out ways of supporting boys and girls who drop out of school because they can’t pay, they can’t buy uniform. We need to find a way of helping them by opening a fund or something.”
Kasolo said there were still more girls dropping out of school than boys.
“Again statistics here will show you how bad it is. Pregnancies: 365 dropped out because of pregnancies and more heartbreaking 212 went into early marriages and for economic reasons 1,612. So on the side of boys’ marriage, only 46 on the other side 212, we are talking about 577 dropped out of school because of pregnancy or early marriage if you combine the two figures,” he said.
Kasolo said 697 girls and 437 of the boys returned to school.
“So out of these statistics, 1,134 boys and girls re-entered school after dropping out. So it’s 1,134 more educated individuals for Zambia and for the province in particular and one of these people may be a president or may be a doctor and so on, so we are adding back to the value of the economy,” said Kasolo.