No Condoms in Schools, Says Parirenyatwa

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha

Harare, Zimbabwe – Former Health and Child Welfare Minister, David Parirenyatwa said that distributing condoms at schools was a non-starter.

Adding his voice to the controversial proposal by the National AIDS Council (NAC) to distribute condoms at schools, Parirenyatwa said what is needed is schools is strengthening of sex education which could start as early as second grade.

“Let’s not entertain that debate of condoms in schools. It’s a non-starter. Let’s forget about putting condoms in schools. Of course, we can have condoms in tertiary institutions such as universities and colleges but in schools it’s a complete no-no,” said Parirenyatwa. “What we need instead is comprehensive sex education, and that can start quite early within the school system.”

The issue of putting condoms at schools recently hogged the media limelight following revelations by NAC that a consultant hired to review HIV and Aids policies in Zimbabwe had made the recommendation. Zimbabwe uses condoms as one of its HIV preventative measures. As a result of that the country has managed to reduce its HIV prevalence rate from over 20% to 14,2% in five years.

“In as much as we teach our children about protected sex, we need as well to provide them with the protection we will be teaching them. So we are saying condoms should be made available even in primary schools, because from the research we as UNFPA recently did it came out clearly that sex is happening in primary schools, with either teachers abusing young girls or even among the school children,” said Samson Chidiya, an official with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Neighbouring country, South Africa,  introduced the Children’s Act which gives children 12 years and older the right to access contraceptives in 2007.

But locally, the issue has been controversial to say the least. According to media reports, some parents said that such a development will negatively affect the education system, arguing that schools should not be allowed to become bases for sexual activities.

“It will worsen sexual activities among school pupils, so we do not want to permit such behaviour at schools. If condoms are given to them, that is the end of abstinence as school pupils will take it as a sign that we condone sexual behaviour at schools,” said one parent.

Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, Lazarus Dokora said that his ministry will not give room for such a development as it is not government policy.

Zimbabwe’s Education System Endangers Students

education1It’s official: Zimbabwe’s educational system is now in the morgue. The state of our education system is clear testimony to how self-destructive Zimbabwe has become. In a word, Zimbabwe is structurally deficient and in a desperate need for repair and construction.

The idea that we have a generation of young people who are receiving a half-baked education is at best, preposterous, and at worst, downright mindlessly stupid.

The failure of the education sector, like many other sectors in Zimbabwe, is a mere revelation that our country is going down the tubes. And in the process, we’ve become like an alcoholic bent on hanging onto to self-suicidal behaviour.

The picture is grim, to say the least. Teachers have abandoned schools. There are no books in schools. Infrastructure is delapidated, and in the erstwhile so-called elite schools such as Prince Edward etc. standards are going to the dogs.

Students have to make do without appropriate meals in our boarding schools. In some parts of the country such as Manicaland, entire schools have been abandoned as both teachers and pupils have joined the melee to the bloody diamond fields. Continue reading