Of every three learners who fall pregnant, only two will return to school. Here’s how the Department of Basic Education (DBE) plans to deal with this crisis.
The launch of the learner pregnancy policy by the DBE seeks to address issues resulting in teen moms being discriminated against at schools.
The DBE believes that the impact of teenage pregnancy on the affected learners is mitigated through the provision of a systemic, sustainable, structured, safe and empowering environment.
The Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancy in Schools Act is grounded in supporting learners who fall pregnant. The act however does make provision for the arrest of individuals who have perpetrated statutory rape.
One aspect of the policy states that schools will now be required to report pregnancies to the South African Police Service (SAPS) if the pregnant learner is under the age of 16-years-old and was impregnated by a man 18 years and older. This is considered statutory rape in South Africa.
Chief Director of Communications & Media at the DBE, Elijah Mhlanga says that police need to understand what has happened and if need be, ensure that a perpetrator of statutory rape is arrested.
He added, “if its children among themselves, still the parents, the school, School Governing Body (SGB) and everyone is concerned, we need to come close to them, understand the situation and see how we can assist them”.