Schools to get guidelines on pregnancies
Bloemfontein - 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 (Fedsas) said on Tuesday.
Fedsas CEO 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 in a statement.
Broader implications of judgment
The governing bodies of the schools, Harmony and Welkom High, are members of Fedsas.
Deacon said that 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, Fedsas was "more satisfied" with the court’s decision that Basic Education Minister 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.
Co-operation from all role-players needed
"Clear guidelines, determined in consultation with trained professionals such as social workers, are necessary."
Fedsas said pupil pregnancies were one of those problems where co-operation by all the role-players was the only solution.
Deacon said Fedsas 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.
Fedsas is a voluntary association of school governing bodies of public schools and represents 1 200 public schools.