Schools to get guidelines on pregnancies

2011-05-17 20:15

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.

  • jock van wyk - 2011-05-17 20:50

    The only guideline should be dont have sex whilst at school and if you cant resist use a condom,its that simple

      Francois - 2011-05-18 08:22

      The heading of the article was misleading, I thought it was a guideline for Sadtu teachers on how to get girls pregnant. I was under the impression that it was not necessary, they are already quite good at it.

  • Compassion - 2011-05-17 21:04

    The worlds moral standards have disintegrated. When teens fall pregnant by engaging in sex before marriage, they don't realise the implications on their lives, or that of the unborn child and their families. If girls are not allowed to go to school while pregnant, so should the father of the unborn, also not be allowed, to continue attending public school. With 2 years to come up with a regulations, I hope one is, that both teens would be made to complete their schooling together, irrespective of whether they are still together or not, and attend parenting classes together. Pregnant teens should attend school in the afternoon, as not to disrupt the rest of the school. Children can be very cruel. And I feel that, while a serious mistake has been made by both teens, it is not necessary to subject them to the ridicule from the pupils. Boys will boast about their “conquest”, while girls will be made to feel unworthy. And the argument that he is going to be the breadwinner, and therefore must attend school, is hogwash. Woman nowadays are also breadwinners. He too can complete his education, either at home schooling, or afternoon classes.

      Lena - 2011-05-17 21:40

      They should not be permitted to go back to normal school, but must, both of the ofenders(because that is what they are), be forced to finish school by any weans so that there will not be another burden for the tax payer and that they can provide for them selves. If these children are forced to provide for them selves,with no help from the tax payer, maybe, juste maybe they will think twice before they "play" adult.

      Spoofed - 2011-05-17 21:47

      Couldn't agree more Lena

  • Mark - 2011-05-18 03:07

    When sex education was not part of the elementary school curriculum there were very few teenage pregnancies. This is another example of how a well intentioned policy (teach children about safe sex from early on) has resulted in negative consequences (more children trying out unsafe sex). However, it's not just the education system that is to blame. The general attitude towards sex in society also contributes. These days there is too much focus on the act and too little on the consequences. Schools should introduce baby care classes where students have to carry around an egg or a doll and take care of it for 3 weeks, they could be assigned a grade based on the condition of the said item after that period. Maybe the girls should be made to wear some suit that simulates the size and weight of a baby. There is nothing that scares people off a course of action more than reminding them of the responsibility that their actions could incur. We need to show children that the problem is not the sex act in itself, but the consequences that arise from that act. What we have now is a half baked system that is destined to fail. Either we bottle sex up as it was in the past, or we allow it total free reign. Teaching children about 'safe sex' is meaningless when society does not have the mechanisms to freely and anonymously distribute the tools required for it's practice like condoms, morning after pills or contraceptive pills to individuals considered to be 'too young' to engage in it.

      Tamara - 2011-05-18 04:23

      With the general state of the education system, where pupils can hardly read by the time they are in high school, I wouldn't hold my breath for any sort of intelligent sex education in schools. Home schooling is fast becoming the only logical decision for any parent. It's a shame really, when you consider that it's taken only 17 years to ruin what was a good (if admittedly unfairly racially biased system.) If only our government had brought the standard of all schools up to 'white' schools level, instead of dropping the standard in all schools, we wouldn't have half the mess we have today. Blame the ANC.

  • Saamprater - 2011-05-18 04:25

    When the government is morally bankrupt and they enforce a moral bankrupt system onto the unsuspecting and uneducated you will have the results we have now. Thousands upon thousands of lives will be negatively impacted because of this. What we need to do is to start a cleanup process, and by looking for moral guidance from an immoral system or person is just wrong. (Insanity is to keep on doing what you are doing right now and to expect different results) The same year the USA experienced (1963) with the future of their youth they started to get the same results as what we have now in our schools. Don't we learn from other people's mistakes. It seems not, because the current pathetic government forced an outcomes based system on our kids that are a failure everywhere in the world. Bottom line is, if you remove God (morals) from a child's basic education the only alternative is to replace God with the Darwinist Evolutionist system, or better known as the Secular Humanist system. This system is born in the very pit of hell and we can clearly see the results it has brought us, everywhere in the world. Grow a moral and responsible child and you will have a solid generation that base their decisions on what is right. To refuse to do that is playing in the hands of the Secular Humanists and we have tried that now for the last 17/18 years. Maybe a complete change of government will have to be necessary to get the required results.

      Saamprater - 2011-05-18 04:28

      The same year the USA experienced (1963) - Should read experimented

  • Crunchie - 2011-05-18 10:11

    Agree with Jock van Wyk.Some teens will anyway not listen to what a councillor or social worker have to say and still become pregnant. Maybe "condotainers" at schools?

  • Christina Kleynhans - 2014-09-20 09:48

    Bring back homes for unwed mothers. As a teacher who had been teaching at Welkom High amongst other establishments, a change of policy will never work as long as that policy dictates that the pregnant learner must come back. Firstly consider the school environment: it is unrealistic to expect that the girl will be safe as most schools have dangers such as multiple stairways. For an expecting learner, the premises is an occupational health and safety risk. Secondly, the mother falls behind with school work and more often than not, has to repeat the grade. This is due to the frailty of a baby up to the age of 2 causing absenteeism. There are clinic visits after clinic visits. Quite frankly these learners are unable to concentrate on the tasks at hand and if they handed in,it is of such poor quality that a good mark cannot be obtained. Besides that, pressure is put on the already overstretched teacher to spoon feed these learners as to keep up with the work. Thirdly, no teacher was the required First Aid to deliver nor help with maternity related ailments. Should that learner go into labour and there are complications, the educators will not be able to help. To furthermore expect a teacher to acquaint themselves with these procedures is ridiculous. one'd hope they really make an concerted effort as to avoid putting more pressure on teachers. Had they had the homes for unwed mothers the learners would have good support they needed to complete school.

  • Christina Kleynhans - 2014-09-20 10:40

    SA has a huge discipline problem: from ground zero to parliament and everything in between. Discipline is almost as widely defined as love. Discipline, in my opinion, can be defined as follows: yearning to adhere to laws and regulations; to be able to discern between right and wrong and choose the right way and stick to it. To never give up. To research and study arduously. To be calm enough not to speak without thinking or doing something irrational. In SA we are dealing with disciplinary issues: look at parliament and we know we have a big problem with rebelliousness. We are in a society where parents expect teachers to raise their children.We are dealing with a very difficult dynamic and that is a teenager who is headstrong, self-righteous and politically fuelled full of rights without taking responsibility. Life Orientation syllabus has a very long, decisive chapter on sex, the consequences etc.However,instilling a consciousness of realising that:there is a huge entitlement issue that is very tangible and very real. Majority shun responsibility and nothing is a better indicator than "cooked" marks.Unfortunately owning up in SA and taking responsibility for one's actions is unheard of. Those who are actually law abiding are the ones who have to bear the brunt as bad behaviour is appraised. To these myopic masses in schools, any form of authority teaches "doctrine" to discourage hedonism.

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