Northern Province Minister, Leonard Mbao has called for stiff punishment against perpetrators of early marriages.
Mr Mbao, who is also Mpulungu area Member of Parliament, said there is need for government and traditional leaders to work together and formulate laws that ensure punitive action against those found wanting.
He said it is sad that some parents and guardians have opted to marry off their daughters at the expense of education.
Mr Mbao also expressed disappointment that the number of children dropping out of school in preference for fishing has continued to rise in Mpulungu District.
The Provincial Minister said government decision to introduce the free education policy is well-intended and will not take kindly to people denying children’s right to education.
He said this when he visited schools in communities along the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Mpulungu District.
Mr Mbao was also saddened to learning at some that schools had not yet commenced as teachers have not reported for work since the opening of schools on Monday.
And Chitili Primary School Deputy Head Teacher, Pethias Chama informed that the minister that cases of early pregnancies were rampant in the area.
Mr. Chama said more needs to be done with the help of government and traditional leaders in raising awareness among parents and guardians on the importance of education.