NATIONAL: (Yasir Habib Khan)– Student pregnancy is on rise in various education institutions leading to high school dropout ratio throughout the South Africa. A data reveals that around 30,000 female students, most of them underage, got pregnant during the course of 2012. 40 percent of these students did not come back and had to be engaged at home matters.
The number of pregnancy appears too much higher due to under-reporting from school principals and because many girls quit school without uncovering the reality that they fell pregnant.
The Eastern Cape topped in the list of student pregnancy and dropout rate, where 514 out of every 100 000 pupils conceived during 2012. In the Free State, with its smaller school population, that rate was 534. Whereas only 87 out of every 100 000 pupils in Limpopo fell pregnant during the year, and in the Western Cape the number hovered at just 42.
Gumede’s school had enrolled 814 girls student. Seventy of them gained motherhood during the year. Of those, 26 were under the age of consent, 16 years.
Fearing a backlash, the department of basic education conducted annual survey in March but has not released so far.
Reliable sources in the department spilled the beans that most of schools had underage girls who were pregnant and even younger children (many under 13) who fell pregnant.
Like many schools, Gumede accused a variety of factors including social pressure on young girls to find a man, weak health and social services and religious communities that do not inflict any pressure of their own.
However, Principal Bonginkosi Gumede denied that stark revelations. ”We have a number of girls who got pregnant here,” says Gumede. “Some remained out of touch for six months, then they return, but most do not come back. They become mothers, they stay at home, they never learn more.”
Human rights lawyer Faranaaz Veriava told mediamen that recent school pregnancy instructions stood ambiguous and had lacked effectiveness
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