Help needed on teen pregnancies

2013-01-26 00:00

IN 2011, 400 fewer schoolgirls fell pregnant in KwaZulu-Natal than in 2010.

However, with the reduced figure sitting at 10 595, and the 2012 numbers still being tallied, the Education Department is concerned; concerned enough that it has enlisted the help of other government departments to tackle the three main societal issues facing youngsters: teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and violence.

Speaking at the province’s first Social Ills Conference in Durban yesterday, Education MEC Senzo Mchu­nu said 666 pupils in the Amajuba District had fallen pregnant in 2011. This, he said, was a large number.

However, Amajuba had recorded fewer than half the pregnancies counted in the Vryheid District, which had the highest number of teen mothers in 2011, with 1 752.

The MEC said the large numbers worried him.

“More than 10 000 children get pregnant. You can’t put them in a bus going anywhere; you need trains.”

Mchunu said the numbers also had implications for HIV/Aids statistics. It was apparent that the 10 000 children who fell pregnant were not using condoms, he said.

“It’s going to be very hard to win the war on HIV and Aids if children in [school] uniform get pregnant.”

Mchunu also slammed teachers who force children into relationships.

“You can’t approach a 14-year-old child if you’re a teacher and say you love her,” he said, adding that they would pursue teachers who preyed on their pupils “seriously”.

He said pregnancies also contributed to the dropout rate at KwaZulu-Natal schools.

Mchunu also told the conference — which was attended by teachers, NGOs, school governing bodies, traditional leaders, Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation MEC Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha and Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi — of incidents where pupils were caught drinking alcohol during breaks, children as young as 13 being hooked on dagga, and children selling drugs and carrying weapons at schools.

Mchunu asked all stakeholders present to help address the pregnancy, substance abuse and violence issues because his department could not do it alone.

Education Department head Nkosinathi Sishi said the report from the conference would be tabled before the KZN cabinet next month so that these issues and proposals become a government agenda.

The chief executive officer of the South African Council for Educators, Reg Brijraj, said 95% of teachers that were struck from the council’s roll were those who had had relationships with pupils.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.