Weekend Argus learnt this week that instead of using condoms to protect themselves some pupils were extracting the lubricant to polish shoes and to condition their hair, leaving teachers worried that the province’s teenage pregnancy figures would not be managed.
Evonne Jantjies is a life orientation teacher at Mount View Secondary School in Hanover Park.
The Grade 11 and 12 teacher who has been in the profession for 28 years, said pupils would simply “play” with condoms should they be made available at schools.
Last week the Department of Education gazetted the Integrated Schools Health Policy which made provision for making male and female condoms available to pupils.
But Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Paddy Attwell said it would still be up to each school’s governing body to decide whether to provide condoms or not.
“We have even heard that girls crush birth control tablets and mix them with hair conditioner because it makes their hair shinier,” said Jantjies. While the school had no control over pupils’ sexual activities, they emphasised the importance of abstinence.
“The prevention message is dealt with in Grades 8 and 9 and it is hoped that by the time they reach Grade 10 they should have a thorough understanding of how not to fall pregnant,” said Jantjies.
The school has 743 pupils, of whom five are known to be pregnant.
According to the South African Demographic and Health Survey, conducted last year, about 12% of women between 15 and 19 years old had already given birth and another 3% were pregnant.
The survey was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Health and the SA Medical Research Council and presented findings from approximately 13 000 households.
However, Attwell told Weekend Argus public schools in the Western Cape had reported a decline in pupil pregnancies over the past three years from 2880 in 2015 to 2140 this year.
The figure for 2016 was 2412.