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Johannesburg - Education authorities have urged matric pupils to desist from attending end of exam celebrations, known as the ‘pens down’ parties. 

With just under two weeks to go until the end of the 2019 final matric examinations, education authorities have called on pupils to focus on their exams, and their futures, and not parties. 

In past years, matric final exam parties have claimed the lives of many young people through car accidents and violence meted out against one another. 

In Richards Bay, four years ago, three pupils were stabbed to death and at least 18 more were wounded and rushed to hospital after a brawl during an end of exams party at the KwaZulu-Natal north coast town. 

Education authorities, including politicians, teachers and school governing bodies, have been calling for an end to the so-called pens down parties which were usually organised by the pupils themselves with no adult supervision or safety and security measures in place where they hosted the parties.

Mpumalanga’s Education MEC, Bonakele Majuba, said matric pupils should desist from the parties as they were “destructive” in nature, with unprotected sex and the use of substance abuse, a fixture of the parties.

“The so called “Pens Down Parties” must be discouraged because of their destructive nature wherein learners tend to engage in unwholesome activities such as substance abuse, unprotected sex and tearing of their school uniform leading to others contracting sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and worst of all the loss of lives,” said Majuba.

He called on schools and parents to be alert to the parties as they were usually planned secretly, without the knowledge of parents and teachers. 

“I request schools and parents to be alert because some of these parties are planned secretly by learners. Parents needs to closely monitor the movement of their children these days to ensure that they do not participate in these parties.

“I also request community leadership including pastors to join the department in condemning these activities and do everything possible to ensure that there is no space for such activities to take place in their areas of jurisdiction,” he said. 

The MEC urged pupils not to damage their uniforms by ripping them up and writing messages on them, but instead, he called on pupils to donate their uniforms to those who needed them.

“It is in our hands to safeguard the future of our children,” he said.

IOL