Concern as 90 000 learners across the country fall pregnant in 2021

11/05/05 School kids and teen pregnancy. pic Lebohang Mashiloane

11/05/05 School kids and teen pregnancy. pic Lebohang Mashiloane

Published Sep 28, 2022


Johannesburg - The Department of Education in Mpumalanga has raised concern about the alarming rate of teenage pregnancy in the country.

This after the convened a Learner Pregnancy Prevention and Management Policy Workshop in Mbombela this week.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said recently in a written parliamentary reply to a question that 91 000 learners fell pregnant last year.

The teenage pregnancy rate has been increasing over the years. The department has been trying to work with other stakeholders to identify people who impregnate young girls. Some of the learners who fell pregnant were between the ages of 10 and 14.

The provincial department in Mpumalanga said the rate of learner pregnancy in South Africa was alarming and had become a major challenge at schools as it affected the lives of thousands of young people, often limiting their personal growth and their pursuit of rewarding careers.

The focus of the workshop was to engage with and lobby key education stakeholders to support the department in addressing factors that are contributing to the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the province.

The workshop was part of the department’s co-ordinated multi-sectoral response aimed at addressing barriers to learning and development that prevent children from realising their right to education.

The department said the policy would guide efforts to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, manage pre- and post-natal consequences, limit the discrimination and stigma associated with teenage pregnancy, and retain and re-enrol affected learners in school.

It also added that the policy sought to ensure that the provision of information on prevention, care, counselling and support was accessible, frameworks for impact mitigation, the choice of termination of pregnancy and that guidelines for systemic management were implemented.

The department said that the policy binds it and education stakeholders to provide Comprehensive Sexuality Education as a crucial part of school curricula to safeguard learners’ sexual and reproductive health rights.

"The Comprehensive Sexuality Education was introduced to ensure that learners gain the knowledge and skills to make conscious, healthy and respectful choices about relationships and sexuality.

"It also provides an age-appropriate, culturally-relevant and right-based approach to sexuality and relationships, which explicitly addresses issues of gender and power, and provides scientifically accurate, practical information in a non-judgmental way," the department said.

The department indicated that the policy is underpinned by the Constitution which affirms that children have an inalienable right to access basic education and thereby pregnant learners and those who have borne a child have the right to continue and complete their basic education.

Furthermore, the workshop also discussed and developed practical strategies to reduce learner pregnancy rates through progressive collaborations with key stakeholders. The department made a call to all communities to fight the scourge of teenage pregnancy.

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The headline in this story has been updated.