The following is a media release by SADTU. I'm sure that there are many educators and parents amongst our members who would like to make a contribution to this debate - how should we deal with teenage girls who become pregnant while at school? This is not a South African question alone - this is also an international question, so our international members might be able to offer us advice if they believe that their country has the correct answer. All members are invited to please contribute your views. If anyone has the HSRC research document, please upload it using the "Attach File" option. You may attach multiple files.
Nomusa Cembi, SADTU Media Officer, 1 September 2009
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) welcomes the Minister of Basic Education’s plan to develop a comprehensive strategy towards addressing learner pregnancy in South Africa, outlining definitive interventions for implementation through the school system.
Minister Angie Motshekga announced this at the launch of a study on teenage pregnancy in schools done by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).
As SADTU, we hope this strategy will bring guidance and much needed leadership to ensure uniformity as schools continue to expel pregnant learners further plunging these girls into the cycle of poverty.
“Pregnant girl learners have for far too long been made to compromise their futures when they are expelled,” Lulama Nare, SADTU Gender Officer said.
SADTU is committed to the Dakar Framework of Action for Education For All which focuses on ensuring girls have equal and full access to and achieving of basic education.
SADTU would also welcome the broader participation of stakeholders inclusive of school managers, governing bodies, learners and teacher organizations. We would also urge the department to look into the availability of school nursing, provision of career guidance and counselors in schools as teachers are not equipped to deal with pregnant learners.
The HSRC study found, among other things, that it was crucial for the learners to return to schools without much delay after giving birth so as to increase their chances of completing their studies.
The longer they stayed at home after giving birth, the lesser their chances of completing their studies.