The Lutheran Church Eastern Dioceses (LCED) have introduced free secondary and vocational schools in Chikombedzi.
This was after research by the LCED gender department showed that numbers of upper primary and secondary school dropouts increased from 40 percent to 67 percent last year.
LCED gender secretary Reverend Elitha Moyo said, “After noticing increasing numbers of school dropouts and child marriages in the area, most of which went unreported, as a church we became very concerned.
“We then decided to construct a high school block and vocational training centre to curb this disaster and we are happy that we have resumed enrolment as an informal school for now.”
She said 70 percent of those who completed Grade Seven at local primary schools did not enrol for secondary education.
“Of these drop-outs, most of them dropout at Grade Six and some after completing Grade Seven. . .(they) enter into child marriages although some do enroll and attend for some time then by mid-year they drop out,” she said.
Rev Moyo said among the pupils who had enrolled for secondary and vocational school were child couples.
She said the Lutheran Church was building more classroom blocks so that they could accommodate 500 secondary school pupils and 150 vocational students.
Rev Moyo said the Lutheran Church Women’s Fellowship was conducting fund-raising programmes to equip the schools.
“We are also conducting various awareness workshops so that we raise awareness in the villages’ traditional leaders, laymen and herdsmen so that we tackle this problem from right at the core,” she said.
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