Johannesburg - As the 2017 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams draw to an end, the Gauteng Department of Education has cautioned pupils against attending "pens down" parties. 

“Pens down parties” refer to parties where pupils, especially those in Grade 12, celebrate the end of exams, and often these parties lead to tragic incidents.

The department in a statement urged pupils to stay away from these parties, where "all sorts of ungodly activities take place". 

"[This] includes indulging in drugs, unprotected sex, tearing of school uniform something that needs to be condemned in all fronts.

"The department implores parents to be alert and monitor the movement of their children and discourage them (children) from participating in such acts."

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The department also appealed to owners of liquor stores and taverns to ensure pupils are not able to purchase alcohol on their premises. 

“We plead with parents and members of the community to discourage these activities since they have the potential to rob our children off their future endeavours. There are people who lost everything because of these activities hence the warning to our children,” Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said.

“Equally our children need to know that there are more important things in life and consequences of such practices are sometimes detriment. We encourage our pupils to donate their school uniform to their respective schools to be used by those who may need it most, instead of tearing same.”

The exams, which commenced on October 23, come to an end on Tuesday November 28, 2017.