The Gauteng Health Department stats of 23 000 children born to teenage moms in a year, shocked everyone and sparked debates on how teenage pregnancy can either be controlled or eliminated in schools. Basic Education will be starting the process with a holistic approach.
The government has said that the state of teenage pregnancy in schools is a crisis.
This comes after debates ignited by a written response tabled to the Democratic Alliance (DA) by the Gauteng Health MEC at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, where it was stated that the number of children born to teenage moms in the Gauteng province jumped to 60% since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than 23,000 girls under 18 years old gave birth between April 2020 and March 2021 – of which 934 were aged under 14.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) Committee Chairperson, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, said this is an emotional matter that needs to be addressed by society at large, as it is broader than the DBE.
“We need a holistic approach,” she said.
The government has also found other means to tackle teenage pregnancy by introducing a number of strategies – schools are now compelled to report to the police in an event when a pupil who falls pregnant is younger than 16 and the expectant father is older than 16.
The Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, is gazetting a new policy on the prevention and management of teenage pregnancy.
Criminal Law Expert William Booth said:
Education is the most important way to tackle the problem and that needs to start at an early age and at home. There are laws dealing with sexual offenses.
Marumo Sekgobela, Save the Children South Africa’s Health and Nutrition Thematic Manager, said the global pandemic risks being a time of irreversible setbacks and lost progress for girls.
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