By Joelle Boxer
In November 2021, Tanzania’s Ministry of Education reversed a policy preventing adolescent mothers from attending public schools. Two years on, research shows the movement for #ArudiShuleni (“Back to School”) requires continued support.
Prior to the policy change, an estimated 6,550–15,000 Tanzanian girls and adolescents were forced out of school each year due to pregnancy, while thousands more were subject to coercive pregnancy testing. The reversal has fundamental implications at the intersection of rights to sexual and reproductive health care and education.
This article will review the expulsion policy, efforts leading to its reversal, and the government’s recent re-entry guidelines, with a focus on the driving role of civil society.