The Persistence of Negative Cultural Practices and Its Impact on Girls Access to Education: A Study of Makonde Ethnic at Newala District, Southern Tanzania
AbstractThis study examined how the rites of passages ceremonies, early marriages, child preference and attitudes of community on girl’s education contribute to drop out and low academic performance among female pupils at Newala District Southern Tanzania. The findings indicated that rites of passages ceremonies attendance contribute to drop out and poor academic performance of female pupils in rare cases. While early marriages forced female pupils to drop out from a school and for those who managed to complete standard seven most of them failed their final exams due to the fact that psychologically they consider themselves as wives and no longer pupils. The majority of respondents 66.6% teachers and 83.3% head teachers did not agree the idea that sons enjoy the preference of parents with regard to schooling compared to girls. The school committee (66.7%) suggested that in order to reduce dropout rates and improve female pupils’ academic performance there is a need for the whole community to change their perceptions towards the importance of educating girls. This was supported by 68.0% female pupils, 83.3% teachers, 100% head teachers. The study recommends the government to involve communities to put more effort to discourage and abolish any kind of cultural practices that segregate girls their rights to education. Also, the government should establish a policy that allows girls who become pregnant during school to go back to school after delivery to continue with their studies.