Tanzania: World Bank grants discriminatory education loan
(Washington, DC) – World Bank approved $ 500 million education loan Tanzania without requiring the government to end its policy of expelling pregnant schoolgirls, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 31, 2020, the Board of Directors of the World Bank voted to grant the loan to finance Tanzania’s secondary education program.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli strongly supported the ban on pregnant students and sworn to maintain it throughout his term. Tanzanian schools regularly forcing girls to undergo intrusive pregnancy tests and permanently expel those who are pregnant. The authorities have arrested schoolgirls for getting pregnant. About 5500 pregnant students stop attending school each year, although previous estimates indicate that almost 8,000 students were forced to drop out of school every year.
“The World Bank should work with governments to move education systems towards full inclusion and accommodation of all girls in public schools, including those who are pregnant or parents, ”said Elin Martinez, senior researcher on children’s rights at Human Rights Watch. “Instead, the The World Bank did not use its leverage and gave in to Tanzania’s prohibition and discriminatory practices, undermining its own commitment to non-discrimination.
the World Bank loan includes funds to build a system of ‘alternative education pathways’, a fee-based parallel system of non-formal education centers for children who drop out of formal education, and a cornerstone of the quality improvement program in education. secondary education in Tanzania (SEQUIP). This program was developed in response to the World Bank’s decision to withhold a loan of $ 300 million for secondary education in Tanzania in part because of the government’s mistreatment of pregnant girls.
Under SEQUIP, studying in these alternative centers is the only option for girls expelled from school for pregnancy. But these alternative education pathways cannot be described as providing education equivalence in formal lower secondary public schools. These the centers will not be free, and provide a condensed version of the program.
In his loan approval, the World Bank consider that girls who are pregnant or have a baby simply “drop out” of school. In framing the question this way, the World Bank ignored independent proof this shows that girls are kicked out, humiliated by school officials and teachers when they are forced to take a pregnancy test or find out they are pregnant, and rejected by their own peers as a result.
The World Bank did not address concerns about the ban by approving the loan, Human Rights Watch said. The Tanzanian government has not adopted a policy or decree clarifying the right of girls to remain in school during and after pregnancy or has not given assurances that it will reintroduce the “reintegration” policy canceled by the government. Parliament in 2017.
All governments should take immediate steps to ensure that secondary education is available and accessible to all free of charge and make education compulsory until the end of lower secondary education, Human Rights Watch said.
The World Bank should not disburse the initial loan tranches until the government meets its obligations to ensure equal access to free and compulsory primary education and equal access to education. lower secondary for girls. The government should immediately end the discriminatory ban and pass a ministerial decree that orders all schools to immediately stop pregnancy tests and stop expelling pregnant girls.
Tanzania is one of two African countries to explicitly ban pregnant girls or teenage mothers from public schools. In recent years, many African governments have made strong commitments to ensure that girls and pregnant mothers can go to school. Human Rights Watch research has shown that laws, policies, and guidelines that protect the right to education of pregnant girls and adolescent mothers are key to ensuring that girls are not discriminated against in school.
All African governments should adopt human rights compliant ‘continuation’ policies that are fully implemented across the country, spelling out girls’ rights so that school and ministry staff have clear guidance on how to support and provide special accommodations for young mothers in school , Human Rights Watch said.
The World Bank’s backtracking on pregnant girls’ right to education also raises concerns about the bank’s broader commitment to implement its Environmental and social framework, which ensures that bank loans will not be used to further discrimination. Other groups who face state-sponsored discrimination in Tanzania, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, may be at greater risk if the government sees indications that the bank does not respect its own principles of non-discrimination.
“Contrary to the World Bank’s description of the Tanzanian loan, ‘alternative routes’ will never match what children get in formal and compulsory education,” Martinez said. “Unlike most out-of-school children who have the choice to return to school, pregnant girls are arbitrarily denied the right to return to school and forced to follow a parallel system.”