Teen pregnancies also affect teachers

Eastbank High School principal, Isaac Tloloe.
Eastbank High School principal, Isaac Tloloe.

According to Eastbank High School principal Isaac Tloloe, teachers experience pain when a pupil drops out of school due to pregnancy.

Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motsekga, has revealed that over the past two years, 20 000 girls per year fell pregnant and dropped out of school to face a bleak future.

Tloloe said teachers felt the pain of these young pregnancies as they have had contact with the pupils for many years before they became pregnant, and know their potential which is now halted due to pregnancy.

“The problem is generic, particularly in township schools, but has grown to be a deeper concern as it now involves more children in the younger age groups between 13 to 16, unlike before when it was confined to between the ages of 17 and 20.”

Tloloe said his school had its fair share of young pregnancies with girls sometimes having to write examinations while heavily pregnant, which impacted on their performance.

He said the challenge had many causes including peer pressure in the early adolescent phase when pupils are still confused and vulnerable and lack coping and negotiating skills, abuse by men who entice young girls with material things which leave the girls with no means to take care of their parental responsibilities as they do not work. This, he said, made girls dependent on men, and the boys who fathered the babies were not prepared to meet the responsibility that goes with parenting.

“This adds a burden to the girl’s parents, many of whom are poor, and this increases poverty and the suffering of the family. Both the young mother and child grow up in the same age cohort which sometimes makes it difficult for the mother to discipline the child.”

He urged those who dropped out of school due to pregnancy to look for better options to care for themselves by improving their education, and engaging in skills training rather than relying on the welfare system as they still have the potential to make it in life.

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