Education At The Primary and Secondary School Levels In Nigeria Is Rubbish-Prof. Olagoke

 

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Parents all over Nigeria have continued to express worry over the declining standard of education. In this interview with Federationews2day, the founder Shafaudeen Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke speaks on the reason behind the current trend. Excerpts : 

Are you comfortable with the declining standard of education in the country, presently ?

We have to clarify issues, curriculum wise, the standard is rising, but at the implementation level, because of the sharp practices , by the stakeholders at all levels, most especially on government part, the performances of students in various examinations, shows that there is a decline.

Institutionalizing education in any society, demands for some basic things to be on  ground. At the primary school level, the construction of buildings, standard enough to accommodate students, well Trained Teachers, who periodically go for capacity building exercises, all these things are no more. Even when you have an oppurtunity for the Teachers, government officials make them look as if that they are been done a favour. And so, selectively, they will pick some of their favoured ones for the training, the training will be so shabby and shallow, and at the end of the day, the budget for such a training would be cut., to the extent that those who are to give the training, wiil receive a token, and the Teachers that go for training, they would also be given a token. And a great proportion of the largess would go to the government officials, who are supposed to reallly implement all these things. You can see the abysmal level to which corruption has gone in the society and has destroyed the fabric of all senses of responsibility in the polity. So, when you get to primary schools, what you find are  features of dilapidated buildings, I mean public schools, students with wretched looks and torn clothes, because government itself knows that education   at this level is not well funded. They will never allow their children to go to such schools, even their grand children. So, education at this level is rubbish. It is true that we should challenge the parents to contribute, but the kind of parents that have their children in all these public schools are the wretched types, who can hardly make ends meet.  So what kind of contribution do you expect from such parents  ? Except to say that their children should return home and hawk their goods for  them. Sociologically, our management of education at this level is nothing to write home about.

Unfortunately, our government leads by propaganda. They will dress up very few schools, showing this over the Television and telling the whole world that they have funded education. At least, we can all attest to the fact that Teachers’ salaries are always pranked on.  When Teachers are not well motivated, what do you expect  from their performances. When parents, who have children in all these schools have little or  very low education,  what do you expect from such parents, regarding imparting, monitoring and motivating their children. So this is why we have a lot of mushroom schools, in the name of private schools, you will see some dilapidated buildings of a primary school and the name will bear someting, something international school. We are fooling ourselves. And until we really know wht we are doing, the future of our children is in jeopardy.  Although  government officials have a substitute, they have their own children, overseas and some selected schools that are well funded, that are very private, so that is why they are comfortable. But when Bola Ige was alive, he used to say something, that always terrified me.  He said ” If those of you who are rich, find comfortable  and very good schools for your children and you neglect the course of the future of the poverty ridden masses, when their children grow into thugs, these are people who will never allow, your overpampered, children to live well”. And this is what we are experiencing in the country today. If you neglect a section and you fund very few people, those few people, in future, they will not necessarily find it easy, beacuse the environment, we live in, matters most and contributes a lot to the quality of life we lead. So, when it comes to secondary schools, the same bad stories are repeated, most of the secondary schools, most especially, where they offer science subjects, they are nothing to write home about.  Look at their laboratories, look at their workshops. All we have on paper, are the ideals of the curriculum, which is internationally recognized. Even Colleges of Education, Polytechnics and Universities, nothing is been done.  Entrepreneurship education is on paper, theoretically taught, most of them do not have centres as expected and where they have, what is the impact of their products ? Products, in terms of the graduates, they are turning out, as well as the products in terms of  what they are really making, out of the entrepreneuship centres So, there is  the need to overhaul education centres, as well as the way we manage and implement our programmes. UNESCO opines that 20% of the national budget of every nation, should be the minimum allocation to education. Nigeria, up till date, on the average, since 1990s, we’ve never been able to get 10% on the average. Even when there was no Boko Haram, when there was no war, the security vote was given so much recognition, and what did they do with such money,  they lavished it, they spent the money on unprofitable ventures. So, I don’t know, we are now in an era of change, whereby Buhari our President, could be regarded as somebody that is very serious and who believes in reshaping the course of the future of Nigeria-economy, politics and security.

And Osinbajo happens to be an academic guru, a lawyer of high repute, a personality of high legal standing. And both of them a Muslim and a Christian now, if you look at this people, because of the passion, religion enforces on the people, the governed, I believe, they will be able to turn around. But education in Nigeria, today, is fraught with agitations by the concerned citizens in the name of ASUP, in the name of ASUU, there is need to overhaul everything, so that the future of Nigeria does not collapse today.

By overhauling, do you mean a state of Emergecy shoul be declared ?

It is not about collapsing the sector, if you collapse the education sector,  everybody becomes an illiterate and before you say, you are awakening them, politcal campaigns will come again and you forget about everything. And the whole country will be in jeopardy.

BONANZA AT KINGS AND QUEENS SCHOOLS, IBADAN, NIGERIA

 

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Is the EU forgetting Freedom of Expression? The EU General Data Protection Regulation

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The EU General Data Protection regulation (GDPR) will replace the current patchwork of 28 different data protection laws in EU. However, as its adoption draws near, concerns remain around its implications for freedom of expression, particularly in its approach to the right to erasure (“the right to be forgotten”).

For this reason, ARTICLE 19 and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have written a joint statement addressing EU policy makers, and provided a joint comment on the content removal processes defined under Article 17 of the GDPR.

Article 17 GDPR provides for a ‘right of erasure’ for data subjects. In the wake of the Google Spain v Costeja case, EU institutions have seemingly gone much further than the judgment itself and provided for a notice-and-takedown regime which is incompatible with the Manila Principles and fails to include even the limited protections available under the E-Commerce Directive.

In short, ARTICLE 19 and EFF argue that the GDPR’s content restriction regime fails to strike the appropriate balance between the rights to data protection and freedom of expression, ignoring the right to freedom of expression of content providers.

In particular:

  • It provides for a new system, in which it is very easy to get content taken down, but very hard to identify or correct wrongful removals.
  • It introduces an important shift: from the presumption that online expression is permitted until proven otherwise, to the presumption that any challenger is right, and content is thus to be removed. This is dangerous because intermediaries receive many groundless requests. It is also well documented that intermediaries have a tendency to avoid risk and transaction costs by simply removing content which has been subject to complaint.
  • There is no provision for mandatory notification of the writers or publishers of the articles at issue, preventing them from appealing the decision of the intermediary to erase their content.

ARTICLE 19 and EFF fully support the strong protection of personal information. However, the GDPR in its current form lacks basic safeguards that would at least allow the case for freedom of expression to be made. There is still time however for amendments to be introduced: EU policymakers should seize this opportunity, before it is too late.

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Source : Article 19

FBI using elite surveillance teams to track at least 48 high-risk ISIS suspects

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With as many as 1,000 active cases, Fox News has learned at least 48 ISIS suspects are considered so high risk that the FBI is using its elite tracking squads known as the mobile surveillance teams or MST to track them domestically.

“There is a very significant number of people that are on suspicious watch lists, under surveillance,” Republican Sen. Dan Coats said.

Coats, who sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence, would not comment on specifics, but said the around-the-clock surveillance is a major commitment for the bureau. “The FBI together with law enforcement agencies across the country are engaged in this. It takes enormous amount of manpower to do this on a 24-7 basis. It takes enormous amount of money to do this,” Coats explained.

These elite FBI teams are reserved for espionage, mob violence and high-priority terrorism cases, like a joint terrorism task force case last June, where a 26 year old suspect Usaama Rahim, was killed outside a Massachusetts CVS. When a police officer and FBI agent tried to question him, the Boston Police Commissioner said Rahim threatened them with a knife, and was shot dead.

With at least a dozen agents assigned to each case, providing 24/7 coverage, this high level of surveillance reflects the severe risk associated with suspects most likely to attempt copycat attacks after Paris.

“It is a big resource drain. Yes it is. Almost overwhelming,” Coats said when asked about the demand placed on the FBI. “There will be a lot of people over the Thanksgiving weekend that will not be enjoying turkey with their family. They’ll be out there providing security for the American people and the threat is particularly high during this holiday period.”

One of the lessons of Paris is that the radicalization process can be swift. According to published reports, friends of the female suspect who was killed in the siege of Saint Denis, Hasna Ait Boulahcen, abandoned her party life only a month before joining her cousin, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the plot’s on the ground commander. He was also killed in the siege.

FBI Director James Comey has consistently drawn attention to this phenomenon, calling it the “flash to bang,” that the time between radicalization and crossing the threshold to violent action can be very short. Last week, in a rare public appearance with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Comey would only say that “dozens” of suspected radicals have been under “tight surveillance.”

“Together we are watching people of concern using all of our lawful tools. We will keep watching them and if we see something we will work to disrupt it,” Comey said.

Contacted by Fox News, an FBI spokesman had no comment on the high risk cases, nor the use of elite surveillance teams.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

Source : Fox News

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Public Private Partnership Not Good For Nigerian Health Institutions-Lab. Scientists

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The Federal Government has been called upon to be cautious, as it tinkers with the idea of introducing Public Private Partnerships Policy(PPP)in health institutions in Nigeria.

This call was made in a communique issued by the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria(AMLSN) at the end of its annual Scientific conference and workshop held recently in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria.

The communique signed by the association’s National President, Alhaji Toyosi .Y. Raheem, National Secretary, Dr. Surajudeen .A. Junaid and National Public Relations Officer, Adeyeye Adetunji Tam, stated ;;conference observed as worrisome the manner and scope of introducing Public Private Partnerships Policy(PPP) in health institutions in Nigeria, its introduction is vendetta driven. Despite the fact that the World Health Organization, emphasizes Universal Health Coverage which must be accessible, available, the manner of introducing PPP in some General and Teaching hospitals in Nigeria is targeted at increasing the out of pocket expenditures of the common man and consequently making health services unaffordable to the majority of the populace. It also enriches categories of health professionals, who now take more interest in referring their patients to PPP laboratories at the expense and detriment of the patient. PPP in the health sector in Nigeria is clearly a policy somersault, designed to confer monopoly on shylock business outfits, especially in Teaching hospitals in Nigeria. Teaching hospitals are supposed to be centres of excellence for quality and affordable services, training and research. Any attempt to relegate these statutory functions will meet with stiff resistance of the exploited masses”.

The communique called on health professionals to give patients priority, ‘conference frowned at the protracted inter and intra-professional rivalry that has continually laid prostrate the health sector and called on health professionals to put the patients first in their scale of priorities. We also call on government to ensure that no section of the health team is marginalized or oppressed through skewed policies and programs as this has been the oven of industrial disharmony.

Plans By 36 State Govs. To cut Workers’ Salaries A Joke-NASU, As Oyo Govt Commences The Payment of Net Salaries To LG Workers

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The Non Academic Staff Union(NASU) has described the attempt by the 36 State Governors in Nigeria to reduce the N18,000 minimum wage as a huge joke. Even as the Oyo state Government has tactically cut down the salaries of its workforce

According to the Chairman of the Union in Oyo state, Comrade Olusola Fatoki-Cole in a chat with Federationews2day, the decision would not be in good fate.

”In terms of welfare, with what we have on ground, we would be able to build on it, sustenance of their welfare at their working places, the allowances they’ve been receiving, then we want to also, when we have our negotiation with the Federal Government or the State Government, we want to build on it, because there are some allowances that, they are supposed to be enjoying, that they are not yet enjoying, so we are going to build on that”.
”We are going to look at workers’ basic salaries, we are going to look at that,m even though some Governors, they are saying now that they cannot pay N18,000 as minimum wage, we are telling them that they are joking, because we are fighting for N18,000, N18,000 is already a past event, we are going to fight for another basic salary scale, because if you look at the country today, what it is, ti is not what it was, what we spend today to make a living is far higher, than what we spent about two, three years ago, so we are making our demands typically clear to the government that this is why we are demanding for so, so, so”.

”Although the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) has not come up with what we are going to demand, but it has been putting government on the notice, that this is coming and it is time for government to brace up, for another new negotiation. So we have that as our agenda. Then there are some institutions that are still operating casual labour, we are also going to look at that, it is against the labour law, it is against International Labour Organization(ILO) regulation. So we are going to see to that, in making sure that those categories, they have their appointments been reviewed, as permanent or confirmed staff, as been required”, Comrade Fatoki-Cole concluded.

Similarly, members the Nigeria Union of Local Government (NULGE)in Oyo state, have expressed dismay over the ongoing payment of net salaries to Local Government workers in the state.
According to the workers, who spoke through their Secretary, Comrade Joseph Oguntimehin the development calls for concern.

”As at now, September salaries, are what the Local Governments are paying now, but there is a caveat as regards that, because the amount released for the payment of September salaries, in most cases, cannot pay gross, what most of the local governments are paying now, is net salaries, and there are so many outstandings, on leave bonus, on staff deductions, union deductions, cooperative deductions, bank loans and so on, that are pending. So the situation is precarious, terrible, May God help us”, Comrade Ogunitmehin concluded.

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Central African Republic: Pope Francis Visits Mosque in Bangui to Plead for Unity

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Pope Francis visited the central mosque in Bangui on Monday, where he urged Christians and Muslims to conduct themselves as “brothers and sisters”.

Vatican Radio reports from Bangui that on a visit to the Grand Mosque of Koudoukou, the Pope said acts of violence in the Central African Republic “were not grounded in properly religious motives … Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years.

“They ought, therefore, to remain united in working for an end to every act which, from whatever side, disfigures the Face of God and whose ultimate aim is to defend particular interests by any and all means, to the detriment of the common good.”

He called on leaders scheduled to take part in national consultations on the country’s future to act as “symbols of national unity rather than merely representatives of one or another faction.”

Vatican Radio carried this full text of the Pope’s prepared remarks:

Dear Muslim friends, leaders and followers of Islam,

It is a great joy for me to be with you and I thank you for your warm welcome. In a particular way I thank Imam Tidiani Moussa Naibi for his kind words of greeting. My Pastoral Visit to the Central African Republic would not be complete if it did not include this encounter with the Muslim community.

“Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters. We must therefore consider ourselves and conduct ourselves as such. We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives. Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace. Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years. They ought, therefore, to remain united in working for an end to every act which, from whatever side, disfigures the Face of God and whose ultimate aim is to defend particular interests by any and all means, to the detriment of the common good. Together, we must say no to hatred, no to revenge and no to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself. God is peace, God salam.

In these dramatic times, Christian and Muslim leaders have sought to rise to the challenges of the moment. They have played an important role in re-establishing harmony and fraternity among all. I would like express my gratitude and appreciation for this. We can also call to mind the many acts of solidarity which Christians and Muslims have shown with regard to their fellow citizens of other religious confessions, by welcoming them and defending them during this latest crisis in your country, as well as in other parts of the world.

We cannot fail to express hope that the forthcoming national consultations will provide the country with leaders capable of bringing Central Africans together, thus becoming symbols of national unity rather than merely representatives of one or another faction. I strongly urge you to make your country a welcoming home for all its children, regardless of their ethnic origin, political affiliation or religious confession. The Central African Republic, situated in the heart of Africa, with the cooperation of all her sons and daughters, will then prove a stimulus in this regard to the entire continent. It will prove a positive influence and help extinguish the smouldering tensions which prevent Africans from benefitting from that development which they deserve and to which they have a right.

Dear friends, dear brothers, I invite you to pray and work for reconciliation, fraternity and solidarity among all people, without forgetting those who have suffered the most as a result of recent events.

May God bless you and protect you! Salam alaikum!

Source : All Africa

South Africa: See What Zuma Already Scores From the Taxpayer

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The Independent Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers has recommended a more than R100 000 increase for President Jacob Zuma for the 2015/16 year.

This will take his salary to almost R3m, which the taxpayer pays. And this is over and above the benefits he receives, courtesy of the taxpaper, which include:

Spousal support for three of his wives. Last year it was reported that R54.6m was spent on Zuma’s wives during his first term in office. This was the total spent between the 2009/10 and 2013/14 financial years by the spousal support unit;

VIP Protection: figures unknown;

Accommodation, both official and hotels. The Ministerial Handbook allows for members of the executive to stay rent free at official residences. And, so far, more than R200m has been spent on the security upgrades to Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, a figure that has raised the ire of opposition parties;

Official vehicles: egulations set the amount at 70% of one’s annual salary and allow for two cars, one in Cape Town and one in Pretoria;

– Travel allowances: members of the executive and accompanying spouses are entitled to an allowance “equal to 110% of the daily allowance payable to directors general during visits abroad”.

Source : News24 Wire

‘What an incredible tapestry’: Obama honors 17 with Medal of Freedom

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President Obama on Tuesday awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor to 17 Americans, including Hollywood stars, a prominent Republican environmentalist, two baseball legends and several civil rights pioneers.

Obama reveled in the stories about the Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees — some of the country’s most famous celebrities as well as lesser-known social agitators. “What an incredible tapestry this nation is,” he said. “And what a great blessing to be in a nation where individuals as diverse, from as wildly different backgrounds, can help to shape our dreams, how we live together, help define justice and freedom and love.”

[The people Bush and Obama thought deserved America’s highest honor]

This year’s recipients included the longest-serving woman in Congress, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.); famed composer Stephen Sondheim; filmmaker Steven Spielberg; violinist Itzhak Perlman; and Bonnie Carroll, who provides services for military families who have lost relatives who’ve served. The oldest was 97-year-old Katherine G. Johnson, a mathematician who helped chart the first NASA spaceflight. Several honorees — American Indian rights activist Billy Frank Jr., former congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (D-N.Y.), Japanese American activist Minoru Yasui and New York Yankees great Yogi Berra — received the award posthumously.

While the general categories for the Medal of Freedom have remained fairly constant since President John F. Kennedy established the modern version of the award in 1963 — public servants, creative artists and athletes are traditionally well represented — the specific choices often pose a study in contrasts.

Obama has frequently honored civil and human rights activists, people he described Tuesday as “those who have challenged us to live up to our values.” He noted with approval that Frank, who fought for tribes to retain their traditional salmon fishing rights, offered this self-description when he was alive: “I wasn’t a policy guy. I was a getting-arrested guy.”

He lauded New York and San Francisco Giants great Willie Mays as a pioneer for African Americans. “It’s because of giants like Willie that someone like me could even think about running for president,” Obama said.

Some of Obama’s remarks were earnest: He praised former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William D. Ruckelshaus as someone who counted dead fish in Indiana’s streams as “all part of protecting America from big polluters.” But there was also some teasing. He introduced singer Barbra Streisand as “born in Brooklyn, to a middle-class Jewish family,” and then he interrupted himself: “I didn’t know you were Jewish, Barbra.” The audience erupted in laughter.

Obama peppered his comments about folk singer James Taylor with direct quotes from his catchiest tunes, including “You’ve Got a Friend.” He chided the audience for not instantly catching a couple of Berra’s “Yogisms,” such as “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”

“It took everybody a while,” he said after the delayed laughter.

Also honored were Latin music stars Emilio and Gloria Estefan, and former congressman Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.).

There are clear demographic differences between the recipients Obama has chosen and those George W. Bush picked during his time in office. African Americans represented roughly the same portion of each man’s designations — 18 percent of Obama’s, compared to 17 percent for Bush — but women have made up 36 percent of the medal’s recipients under the current president vs. 15 percent during his predecessor’s tenure. In a similar vein, Obama has awarded the honor to a higher proportion of Hispanics, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and gay and lesbian Americans than Bush.

Obama has awarded 97 medals so far, compared with Bush’s total of 81 and President Bill Clinton’s 88. White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said the administration makes no apologies for the longer list under Obama. “There are people he’s had on his mind since he took office,” she said. “He wants to make sure he gives them this honor before he leaves office.”

Source : Washington Post

Witness: “Better to Die Than to Live Such a Life”

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Birgit Schwarz

Senior Press Officer

At 14, Justine firmly believed that the world was her oyster and the future hers to shape and conquer.  She was bright and her mother made enough money as a seamstress to send her to a decent public school in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

“I used to dream about finishing school, finding a job and being independent,” the now 38-year-old told me. “I would buy a car or a house and do anything I wanted to do.” But shortly after her 14th birthday, her mother died of meningitis, and life as she knew it came to an end.

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Twenty-four years after the loss of her mother, Justine, married since she was 16, lives in Harare in the back of someone else’s  dusty yard. Her home is a dimly lit garage  at the end of a driveway without a car.  Her eyes speak of crushed hopes and shattered dreams. And yet there is a hint of defiance in her look.

While she recounted her story of becoming a bride and mother while still a child, I caught glimpses of the once fiercely independent-minded teenage girl lurking just beneath the surface of her calm composure. But there was a time once when she thought it was better to die.

Like many girls coerced into marriages at an early age, she’s given up all dreams of finishing her education and has been trapped in a poverty that strains an already turbulent relationship and threatens her children’s future.

Like Justine, one in three Zimbabwean women between  20 and 49 reported that they had been married before  age  18, according to a government survey. Almost a third of  girls in Zimbabwe marry before their 18th birthday, and four percent before they turn 15. Child marriage is a growing problem in Zimbabwe, says new Human Rights Watch research [BS1] published on the eve of the Zambia African Union Summit on Ending Child Marriage in Africa.

The practice has been fueled  by a rise in extreme poverty, rigid religious beliefs, harmful customs and weak government systems to protect girls against abuse. Early marriage  not only severely curtails girls’ access to education, it also exposes them to physical abuse and from a very young age to serious health risks.

After her mother’s death, Justine was sent to a rural area outside of Harare to live with her grandparents. Money was short and so was food. For two years, Justine walked the 12 kilometers to school and back because her grandparents could not afford the bus fare. “Most times when I came back from school, there was no food for me to eat,” she recalled. “I was hungry all the time. And there was always a lot of work waiting for me.”

The young girl, uprooted and mourning her mother, found solace in the arms of an older boy. They met at her new school. He was 19  and lonely as she was, she found it hard to resist his interest in her. “He was someone I could share all my problems with,” she said. “A shoulder to cry on.”

But trouble followed quickly. Justine, just 16 and in form two (or grade 11) at the time, became pregnant. Having had no  sex education, she had not used contraceptives.  So instead of graduating, she was made to leave school and her grandparents’ house. Rather than becoming the nurse she had dreamed of being,  she found herself a teenage mother nursing a baby.

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Her grandparents did what many guardians of teenage girls in Zimbabwe do, especially in rural communities,  if a girl falls pregnant — or sleeps out,  returns home late after seeing a boyfriend, or is seen by a senior family member in the company of a boyfriend. They  told her to go and live with the man she was seeing.

“It hurt me a lot, that they did not want me at home and that I was not allowed to continue with school,”  Justine told me. “But what choice did I have?” Abortion would have been illegal, and not an option anyway, she said.

Having been forced to move in with her boyfriend, Justine felt compelled to agree to get married. How  was she going to survive as a single mother without an education?

There was no wedding ceremony, no official registration. It was a day like any other, when Justine and the father of her child had their customary marriage and became husband and wife – a step that would cost her the independence she had craved so much.

Justine would have loved to go back to school and finish her education, once she had had her first child. But she had no money for school fees, books or babysitters, and neither had her husband.

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Having failed his final exams, Justine’s husband never found a proper job. Once the baby  arrived, money became ever  tighter. He began to drown his frustration about not being able to provide in alcohol, blaming Justine for their misery. Justine would bear his late-night tirades and abusive spells with stoic silence, knowing that arguing with a drunken man might only lead to getting hurt.

But one night in 1998, when she was pregnant with their second child, he beat her up after she dared to talk back. She had tried everything to find work to supplement their meager income, yet here he was, ranting that things would be so much better if only she would get a job. Angry and distressed, Justine doused herself in paraffin and set herself alight. “I thought that it was better to die, than to live such a life,” she said, tears in her eyes.

It was a desperate act of defiance. Justine and the baby survived but the incident  scarred her for life. She stayed with her husband  — because she couldn’t  see a way out,  and because her children needed her. Having forgotten the pill “once or twice,” she  even had another child-  – a daughter, who is now 15.

The family has found shelter in a garage in the back of a property that belongs to Justine’s brother-in-law. They live off the little money her husband makes selling airtime for mobile phones  – a luxury they cannot afford. With a monthly income of rarely more than US$100,  they have barely enough money to afford to eat. s.] Even the school fees of $100 per term for each child have become unaffordable. For a year now Justine’s two teenagers have been out of school, whiling away the days.                                                                      zimwitness1123-4

Observing her children watch their little cousin, who lives in the main house opposite the garage, kick up the red dust of the yard as he returns from school, his satchel dancing on his back, Justine feels their pain. She would do anything to ensure that her children can finish their education. Since she has been  deprived of shaping her own future, nothing these days seems more important to her than saving her own children, especially her daughter, from a similar fate.

“Girls must finish school, get a job and be independent,” she said, defiant as ever. “Early marriage is not a way out. On the contrary, you might end up in a worse situation than the one you were trying to escape.”

Source : Human Rights Watch