'Help us find best ways to deal with teenage pregnancy'

27 June 2018 - 10:33 By Timeslive
File photo.
File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

The Department of Basic Education has extended the deadline for written submissions on the National Policy on the Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancy in Schools.

Earlier this year‚ the department issued a gazette in which it invited comments from stakeholder bodies and members of the public on the policy. In a statement‚ the department said it has now "created another opportunity for public comment as requested by some stakeholders".

The rate of learner pregnancy in South Africa has become a major social‚ systemic and fiscal challenge not only for the basic education sector but‚ crucially‚ for the national development in general.

In this policy‚ the department's aim is to set outs its goals‚ guiding principles and policy themes to stabilize and reduce the incidence of learner pregnancy and its adverse effects on the education system.

In particular‚ the policy seeks to ensure that information is easily accessible to pupils on how to prevent pregnancy‚ choice of termination of pregnancy as well as care‚ counselling and support.

It also commits the basic education system and other roleplayers to providing Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). This programme‚ according to the department‚ provides "an age-appropriate‚ culturally relevant and right-based approach to sexuality and relationships‚ which explicitly addresses issues of gender and power‚ and provides scientifically accurate‚ practical information in a non-judgmental way".

The government tries to ensure pregnant learners can complete their schooling‚ which requires schools to accommodate the reasonable needs of the learner to ensure that her right to education is not disrupted or ended by pregnancy or birth.

"This may imply short to medium term absences from school and an undertaking to hold a place in the system for the return of the learner and the completion of her basic education. Details of this policy protocol are addressed in the Implementation Plan‚" the department said.

All interested parties are invited to comment on the policy in writing via email to pregnancypolicy@dbe.gov.za or fax to 012 328 8401. Closing date for comments is now July 30‚ 2018.

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