Teen mothers in Tanzania who had been stopped from returning to classes have been allowed back to school, in a big policy shift by President Samia Suluhu’s administration.

The change in policy comes four years after late president John Magufuli decreed that pregnant schoolgirls be expelled and teen mothers be blocked from returning to school, a move that drew widespread criticism both locally and internationally.

“As long as I am president no pregnant student will be allowed to return to school,” he said then.

Tanzania’s Education Minister Joyce Ndalichako said that the government will now allow the young mothers back to school.

“Primary and secondary school students once stopped from going school due to pregnancy will be given an opportunity to return to school in the formal system,” Prof Ndalichako told journalists in Dodoma on Wednesday.

The government announced that the new policy will also apply to students once stopped from classes due to truancy and family problems.

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