March 21, 2011

Bad laws impede girls' access to education, says minister

Poor government policy and some laws have been cited as among major impediments to successful girl-child education. The minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ms Celina Kombani, suggested for the review of the Marriage Act of 1971 and look for alternative ways of combating pregnancies among girl pupils and students, as ways of promoting girls education. The law allows girls aged 14 or 15 to get married, while boys could marry at the age of 18. The minister emphasised that pregnancies of girl-children have played a big role in hindering them to acquire the right to education. "We should look for alternative ways to combat the situation and challenges. We need to look at penalties imposed to those found guilty of impregnating girl students," she said. She, however, added that culture was still an impediment to efforts to tame the problem, noting that in many societies girls still face difficulties in decision making. "Despite the modern ways of using DNA, the question is how many people are able to pay for the test? That is why we should discuss ways that can be used by everyone to win the fight," she noted. (The Citizen)

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