Parirenyatwa school of nursing has expelled dozens of students for falling pregnant against the institution’s controversial regulations.
Figures seen by Now Daily show that as many as 26 students were kicked out in 2010, one of the worst years, compared to two in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available.
The policy of expelling pregnant students is being challenged by rights activists who say it is discriminatory.
“Pregnant nurses are allowed to work all over the world. Why then should students be expelled for falling pregnant? It’s such a drastic action because pregnancy is beyond the control of many, especially married students or those living with their boyfriends,” said a student who requested anonymity.
The students have, however, started their own clinic to distribute contraceptives to their peers. The clinic has been hailed by the United Nations as a ‘promising model’.
“It is the first school to have started a student-run clinic,” says a UN report. “This clinic was initiated by four students with the help of the administration. They were offered space in the hostels. They provide family planning services, mainly condoms and pills, counselling and referrals for other services. Students pay for the pills and the condoms are supplied from the main hospital. When the clinic started in 2010 there were 26 pregnancies and the number had dropped to two in 2012.”
The policy of expelling pregnant women and girls from schools and colleges is widely applied in Zimbabwe. In many instances, the women and girls are not allowed to resume studies after giving birth. Activists say this is a bad policy as it has cut short the career prospects of many promising females.
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