SOME 13,000 children dropped out of school in 2013, a 43 percent increase on the previous year, a report from the ministry of primary and secondary education has revealed.
Lack of school fees was cited as one of the main reasons for the spike in dropouts as Zimbabweans struggle to send children to school in a failing economy.
Unemployment is estimated at more than 80 percent with most people resorting to vending to feed their families.
Significantly too, the Education Management System report released last week shows that about 52 percent of secondary school drop-outs were females.
At primary level about 40 percent of all school pupils who failed to proceed with their education were also females.
“At secondary level 2,289 dropped out of school because of school fees,” reads the report.
“At primary level, 2 784 dropped out because of school fees consisting of 1 646 males and 1 138 females.”
Early marriages were also responsible for a significant portion of the dropouts.
“At secondary level, 1,191 failed to continue because of marriages… while pregnancy has a total of 856 drop-outs,” the ministry said.
The report also shows that the government’s Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) which is meant to assist children from poor families with school fees is failing to cope with the increasing demand.
At least 165,000 pupils failed to have their fees paid through BEAM due to cheques being dishonoured as well as bureaucratic bungling-NewZimbabwe.com