THE Annual School Survey, that is conducted on ordinary schools, has revealed that more than 1 400 primary school girls in Grades 3 to 7 were reported to have fallen pregnant in the past two years. However, the Department of Basic Education says what’s more alarming is that 8 732 girls nationally fell pregnant in the last two years.
IT’S STATUTORY RAPE
In South Africa, it is considered statutory rape when an individual has sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16. Children aged 15 or younger are not legally able to consent to sexual activity and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape. The Democratic Alliance wants to submit further parliamentary questions to find out if the girls were under the age of 16 and if rape charges have been brought against the perpetrators.
A CONCERN TO THE DEPARTMENT
In a statement, the department said this is a concern to them and as a result, a lot of work is being done in this area. The department says it has a national policy on the prevention and management of learner pregnancy, which focuses on the high rates of pregnancy among South African learners.
However, the department is not clear on any reported cases of statutory rape committed against learners. It says it just reports all sexual offences reported to the police.
FAILING THE YOUTH
In his speech at the National Teaching Awards, President Jacob Zuma noted this pregnancy issue. “The problem of teenage pregnancies continues, indicating that we are failing somewhere as parents and teachers in guiding and teaching our youth,” he said. When asked for comment, the education department spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, referred Move! to the report.