Most orphans, teen mums and suicide in KZN

2011-04-14 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL has the highest number of orphaned pupils and teenage pregnancies in the country.

This emerges from the “Report on the 2008 and 2009 Annual Surveys for Ordinary Schools” released by the Education Department.

More than a third of all teenage pregnancies in 2009 occurred in KwaZulu-Natal, according to the report. Thirty percent of pupils in the province fell pregnant in 2009, and their number increased by 3 000 in 2010.

A KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education spokesperson Mollie Kemp said the numbers of pupil pregnancies are increasing every year despite various life skills programmes in the schools.

Kemp says that a recent study found that around 30% of the girls who fell pregnant indicated that they wanted to be pregnant, and contrary to popular belief, only two percent said they conceived in order to obtain a child grant.

More than 30% of pupils have lost at least one parent, with almost 200 000 living without parents in 2009. Zonke Ndlovu of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) says HIV prevalence and a high number of children living without parents are linked.

KZN has the highest HIV prevalence rate of around 40%, according to UNaids.

KZN also has one of the highest suicide rates, with five percent of all school deaths as a result of suicide.

National Education spokesperson Granville Whittle speculates that this could also be linked to a high HIV prevalence, but Ndlovu disagreed, saying there is no direct link.

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