Pupil pregnancy: So rife we need a policy on it

A classroom in a suburban KwaZulu-Natal school last month unexpectedly became a maternity ward when a teenage pupil  went into labour.

Pregnancy among pupils is not new to the basic education system, but its scale and impact have reached a point where it requires a systemic policy and structured implementation planning, the Draft National Policy on the Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancies in Schools says.
Image: Esa Alexander

As if this wasn’t enough‚ given the risks of teenage pregnancy‚ it wasn’t a straight-forward delivery.

“As it happened‚ there was a slight complication. The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. The teacher did her very best‚ and her best turned out to be good enough. There was no damage to the mother or baby‚” said Tim Gordon‚ CEO of the Governing Body Foundation.

Gordon said the incident highlighted the importance of how teachers and schools are handled as the Department of Basic Education receives the final round of comments on its Draft National Policy on the Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancies in Schools.

The department this week extended the deadline for comments on the policy – which is available on the department’s website.

Department spokesperson Troy Martens told Times Select the policy was important “because of the high rates of early and unplanned pregnancies we see‚ as well as the rates of pregnancies of pupils of school-going age‚ in particular”.

According to figures released by the department‚ in response to DA questions‚ 18‚357 pupils fell pregnant at schools across the country in 2014. This declined to 15‚504 in 2015 and to 8‚732 in 2016 (although this figure did not include KZN or Limpopo‚ as those stats hadn’t been compiled at the time of the response).

For more on this story‚ please visit Times Select.

BY MATTHEW SAVIDES – TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital

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