Angie Motshekga wants parents to reconsider objections to sex ed in schools
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has called on the religious sector, traditional leaders, parents and guardians to review their objections to the implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), after an increase in teenage pregnancies during the pandemic.
Motshekga, who addressed the media on developments in the sector in the context of Covid-19 this week, vowed to intensify the rollout of a sex education curriculum in schools.
Motshekga said her department cannot ignore the matter because it impacts negatively on the work done in the sector.
“We are concerned about the alarming rate of teenage pregnancies in the country. Let us be clear that it is not just a problem in Gauteng, it is a national crisis. Most of these teenagers are of school-going age.
“It is a serious indictment on all of us as a society and we really need to reflect deeply on this crisis and take urgent action to arrest the moral decay,” said Motshekga.
According to the education minister, an early unwanted pregnancy perpetuates poverty and disrupts the growth and development of young people.
“It also contributes to the worrying dropout rate we are fighting so hard to reduce. It has become even more urgent that as a nation we act collaboratively on this matter, as it threatens the future of the country as a whole,” she said.
Motshekga said the department of basic education and its stakeholders would intensify the implementation of the CSE, which aims to empower young people with age-appropriate information.
“We will need again to mobilise our communities and stakeholders to unite against this scourge. The time has come to bury our differences with the religious sector, traditional leadership, parents, guardians and all others who opposed the implementation of CSE,” she said.
Her comments come after statistics from the health department revealed that at least 23,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 fell pregnant between April 2020 and March 2021.
The health department said about 3,000 girls opted to terminate their pregnancies.
Parliament’s portfolio committee on women, youth and people with disabilities chairperson Nonhlanhla Ncube-Ndaba said the impregnation of young girls was another form of gender-based violence (GBV).
She said the rate of teenage pregnancies was a gruesome act of GBV and the perpetrators must be held to account