Mar 2022 2nd edition

Measures to prevent learner pregnancy

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the education sector is working with role play­ers and parents to pre­vent pregnancies among school children.

The Minister said inter­ventions such as ‘Let’s Talks EUP’, implemented with support from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), allow for a safe space for intergenerational dialo­gue on how best to deal with early and uninten­ded pregnancy (EUP).

The curriculum is also being used to address EUP.

“Our commitment is to strengthen the Com­prehensive Sexuality Education offering in Life Orientation to ensure that learners are empowered with knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about their health and sexuality, prevent HIV infection and pregnancy, and focus on their education,” said Minister Motshekga during the Social Clus­ter media briefing held recently.

She added that where early pregnancy occurs, the Policy for the Preven­tion and Management of Learner Pregnancy will help the sector to support the pregnant learner.

The policy guides teachers, parents and all those involved to ensure that care and support is provided to pregnant learners and their edu­cation is not negatively impacted.

The Department of Basic Education launched the Policy for the Preven­tion and Management of Learner Pregnancy in Schools recently, follo­wing alarming statistics of 23 000 young girls, between the ages of 10 and 19, who fell pregnant between April 2020 and March 2021.

 Minister Motshekga called on parents, care­givers and community members to help the sector ensure that child­ren are protected. "... especially because most of the time, preg­nancy among children usually occurs as a result of sexual abuse and coer­ced sexual intercourse and sexual abuse.”

Social protection system

During the media brie­fing, the Social Cluster lauded the social protec­tion system as one of the greatest achievements of the democratic govern­ment, reaching more than 18 million people every month.

Minister Motshekga said without this sup­port, millions more people would live in dire poverty.

Since the onset of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), the Social Relief of Distress Grant has provided support to more than 10 million unemployed people, who remain most vulnera­ble to the impact of the pandemic.

During his recent State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramap­hosa announced that government has extended the R350 SRD Grant for a further year, to the end of March 2023.

During this time, government will engage in broad consultations and detailed technical work to identify the best options to replace this grant. -

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