Eastern Province MMD chairperson Jacob Mwanza says parents need to get more involved in providing guidance on their children’s education in order to stop vices like teenage pregnancies.

In interview, Mwanza observed that parents were not doing enough to guide their children on the need to focus on education.

“It’s difficult to know which is which because grade seven, we recorded 100 per cent pass rate, whereas grade nine, we recorded poor results and we still don’t know the grade 12, and even tertiary [level] how they will fair…The other challenge is that, when parents are called to attend the PTA meetings, you find they don’t go yet these meetings are very important because it’s the moment you analyse the academic issues. But you find parents don’t go there, and among the few who attend, they go there to attack and accuse the school authorities of misusing the monies they pay. Even at home, they can’t sit a child down to find ways and means of checking his or her performance, but we wait for government to do something. So, I urge parents to be concerned with the education of their children,” he urged.

Mwanza also urged the Ministry of General Education to build more schools within communities so that pupils do not have to walk long distances to get an education.

And commenting on the high rate of teenage pregnancies in some parts of Eastern Province where Chipata recorded 5,000 teenage pregnancies in a quarter, while neighbouring Chadiza District recorded 4,000 teenage pregnancies, Mwanza expressed shock at the alarming high rate despite concerted efforts to tackle the vice.

“The high rate of teenage pregnancies in Eastern is a shock to me as yesterday or the other day, I was listening on the news that Chadiza has about 4,000 teenage pregnancies; this just shows that our children are highly sexually active such that what to do is not known as everyone is busy fighting the vice, but we still record a high rate? It seems our fight is in vain,” he said.

He has since called for greater discipline among children saying their illicit activities will affect their entire lives.

“Pregnancies occur whether we put barriers or not. As long these children don’t listen to their parents, we will continue talking and holding our heads in the sand these pregnancies will occur. The onus is not on us, but on our young people, the boys and girls, that the future lies in their hands. They mess up this time, the whole future will be a disaster! It’s very shocking to see the percentages of these teenage pregnancies and everyone wonders where the world is going,” said Mwanza.