Suggestions have been raised that Pregnant pupils should have their own “special” schools or better still be home schooled as a way of shaming and punishing them. Apart from being a way of punishment, it will also assist in preventing negative influence on other pupils.
These ideas were proffered by some of the parents interviewed in a study by a University of South Africa academic.
While some parents suggested pregnant pupils should not be allowed in the formal school environment, some others suggested that schools should have dedicated nurses to attend to pregnant pupils in the school. And some others suggested they get their own school.
“These days, many learners are pregnant, so if they have their own school the community will see that this side we have learners who are virgins while that other side we have learners who are parents already,” said a parent.
The parents also felt that allowing pregnant pupils to attend school was an extra job for teachers as it is not their duty to carter for pregnant pupils.
“We are burdening the schools with our pregnant children [especially because] the first stages [of pregnancy] are dangerous,” said a parent.
Some parents also suggested total dismissal of the pregnant pupils in order to protect other pupils from the “bad influences of pregnant learners”.
The study by the university academic entitled “Experiences of parents whose daughters became pregnant while attending secondary schools in Limpopo”, was published in the African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance in January 2016.
In a statistics analysis announced by the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, there were 2,0116 pupils who fell pregnant just in 2014.
Limpopo was one of the provinces with the highest number as it recorded 1,009 that year.
The study recorded that the suggestion to separate pregnant pupils from the ‘virgin’ ones was because of the perception some communities have on teenage pregnancy. They see it as a moral crime and perpetrators should be “shamed and punished” for.
Basic Education Department’s policy on the other hand did not forbid pregnant pupils from attending school.
“In accordance with the constitution, the SA Schools Act and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, school children who are pregnant shall not be unfairly discriminated against” the measures for the prevention and management of learner pregnancy will throw more light on this.
President Zuma has also suggested twice for teenage mothers to be separated from their babies until they complete their schooling.
In 2013, the Constitutional Court gave an order for two Free State schools to review their pregnancy policies which restricted pregnant pupils from attending school.
Meanwhile, the Pretoria Hospital School offers pregnant pupils a chance to attend school without any discrimination,but the school does not condone early pregnancy.
In a recent development in Kenya,Parents of pupils at Cheplaskei Primary School in Uasin Gishu County stormed the institution on Tuesday, demanding the removal of the head teacher. Reports say that 12 schoolgirls were confirmed pregnant in the school and the parents suspect some of the teachers to be responsible for the pregnancies.