The United Kingdom Minister for Africa Vicky Ford has applauded the Zambian government for fully implementing the free education policy to enhance access to education for vulnerable children in country.
Ms. Ford says access to education has accorded children an opportunity to fulfill their potential and develop their abilities.
She says her government will for this reason support Zambia’s implementation of her free education policy to enhance access to quality education for children especially the girl-child.
Ms. Ford , who is on a familiarization tour of schools in the country, stated that United Kingdom is also working with government to construct secondary schools in areas which are underserved.
She said this when she addressed pupils and various stakeholders at Mulola primary school in Chongwe district which she visited to assess the challenges being experienced by girls at the school.
Mulola primary school becomes the 100th school supported by the British council’s climate connection program aimed enabling school going children to take action against climate change issues.
And Education Minister Douglas Siakalima who accompanied Ms. Ford and her delegation implored parents in the Chongwe to stop marrying off their female children at an early age as adding that the practice is detrimental to the lives of girls.
Mr. Siakalima said the girl child should be encouraged to get educated to allow them to access equal opportunities to develop their livelihood as their male counterparts.
He said government is cognisant of the challenges that hinder girls attaining education adding that it is currently implementing various programs to address these challenges.
“Government and various stakeholders are have ensured that the girl child has equal access to education and other opportunities as the boys.
This has been made possible through the implantation of the re-entry policy, equal opportunities during enrollment, financial support through .
“ The keep girls in school’ program, provision of sanitary kits and inclusion of comprehensive sexuality education in the school curriculum among others,” Mr Siakalima said.
He also said the free education policy is expected to reduce drop outs and also improve attendance as well as performance levels for the girl child.
Mr Siakalima called on communities to take advantage of the decentralisation policy which government has actualized by ensuring that they prioritise support for school activities which can improve access to education for the girl child through their ward development committees.