The World Bank has insisted it will only support Tanzania’s educational programs with funding if pregnant girls are allowed into schools.
The bank had suspended a planned $300 million educational loan to Tanzania amid concerns about the country’s policy that bans pregnant girls from school.
The loan facility was meant to help Tanzania’s Ministry of Education improve access to quality secondary education.
Last week President of Tanzania, John Magufuli met Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank’s vice-president for Africa, in Dar es Salaam.
Mr Magufuli after the meeting said the funds from the bank had never been withdrawn “as people who don’t wish us well were saying”.
He also said Mr Ghanem’s visit confirmed that the bank “would not abandon Tanzania”.
But local media The Citizen Newspaper reports that the World Bank official, Mr. Ghanem insists pregnant girls will have to go back to school.
That is part of the conditions the bank wants in place before releasing funds to support Tanzania.
Mr Ghanem told the paper that “This is what has changed… we’re a development institution, we cannot accept that some girls be denied education. If we accept that, we won’t be doing development.”
The Tanzanian law that bans pregnant girls from school dates back to the 1960s. It allows all state schools in Tanzania to ban young mothers from attending school.
Over the past decade more than 55,000 Tanzanian pregnant schoolgirls have been expelled from school, according to a 2013 report by theCenter for Reproductive Rights.
Rights groups fear if the law isn’t reversed many young girls who get pregnant will be denied education.