The girls were arrested along with their parents in the northern town of Tandahimba on the directives of a local district commissioner but have since been released on bail.
A district official, Mohammed Azizi, told the Citizen news portal that the arrests forms part of efforts to rid the town of student pregnancies. Records indicate that over 50 girls have been pregnant over the last 24 months.
I’m giving out free education for students who have really decided to go and study, and now you want me to educate the parents?
The Tanzanian government is known for its hard stance in relation to school girls who get pregnant. Such girls are banned from continuing their education or returning to state-run schools even after child birth.
In June 2017 whiles speaking at a public rally in Chalinze town, west of the capital, Dar es Salaam, the president reinforced the pregnancy ban and added that men responsible for the acts should also be given jail terms so that they can put their energies to good use while serving time.
“After calculating some few mathematics she’d be asking the teacher in the classroom ‘let me go out and breastfeed my crying baby,” Magufuli said.
He also delivered a message to human rights groups that continue to accuse the government of denying teenage mothers education and thereby stripping them of a basic human right.
“These NGOs should go out and open schools for parents. But they should not force the government [to take back the pupils]. “I’m giving out free education for students who have really decided to go and study, and now you want me to educate the parents?” he posed rhetorically.
‘‘After getting pregnant, you are done!” he is quoted to have said. But tweeters at the time used the hashtag #Arudisule to express their opposition to the president’s position. The word arudishule means ‘she should go back to school’ in local parlance.