School pregnancy guidelines coming soon

2011-05-17 13:07

Clear guidelines for handling teenage pregnancies in schools might soon become a reality after a recent court case in the Bloemfontein High Court, the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools has said.

The federation’s chief executive Jaco Deacon said the litigation came after the Free State education department interfered when two Welkom-based schools refused to allow two pregnant pupils to return to school.

“The schools took this decision in accordance with the policy of their school governing bodies, which was in line with national policy in this regard,” he said today.

The governing bodies of the schools, Harmony and Welkom High, are members of the federation.

Deacon said although the focus of the court case was the department’s interference with the policy of the school governing bodies, the court’s judgment in the matter had broader implications.

The court decided that the department could not interfere with the two school’s decisions, but held that the department had acted in good faith.

Nevertheless, the federation was “more satisfied” with the court’s decision that the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga had 24 months to put regulations in place that would give clear guidelines on how to handle teenage pregnancies in schools.

Deacon said teenage pregnancies were a huge social problem and due to a lack of clear guidelines, pregnant pupils were often the school’s responsibility to tackle.

“Guidelines, determined in consultation with trained professionals such as social workers, are necessary.”

The federation said pupil pregnancies was one of those problems where co-operation by all the role-players was the only solution.

Deacon said the federation was willing to be involved in the consultation process in order for well thought-out and clear guidelines to be implemented as soon as possible.

The federation is a voluntary association of school governing bodies of public schools and represents 1 200 public schools.

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