Over 3 000 pupils pregnant in Mpumalanga

2015-04-12 16:16
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Mbombela - Mpumalanga education authorities have confirmed that more than 3 000 pupils fell pregnant last year.

The department recorded a total of 3 196 pregnant schoolgirls in 2014.

"We also dismissed five educators due to sexual crimes against learners," said provincial education spokesperson Gerald Sambo.

Sambo said the department has campaigns throughout the year against teen pregnancy, but that they need more support from communities.

"The campaigns are yielding results but the challenge requires a  strong collaboration with communities because most of the sexual practices are mainly taking place within communities. We would like to urge our learners to refrain from any sexual activities and focus on their studies and be able to graduate before they become mothers," he said.

Provincial spokesperson for the Democratic Alliance, Portia Adams, said Mpumalanga has one of the highest school pregnancy rates in South Africa.

Even primary school girls are falling pregnant, she said.

"The high number of primary school learners falling pregnant is [especially] concerning as these children are unlikely to be able to look after their babies, let alone stay in school up to matric.

"It is also concerning because these pregnancies could be a sign of sexual crimes taking place either at home or at school," she said.

She added that the DA will ask Education MEC Reginah Mhaule for a detailed action plan on how she intends to discourage scholars from falling pregnant.

Sambo said there are a number of programmes that address teen pregnancies.

These include the Integrated School Health Programme whereby nurses visit schools to discuss prevention strategies and sexual reproductive health.

The Peer Education Programme also encourages learners to engage in activities aimed at combatting social challenges, including teen pregnancy.

Community Dialogues and Social Mobilisation led by the departments of social development and education involve parents and address social challenges affecting pupils, he said. 

Read more on:    mbombela  |  education

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