Briefing the media on its study “Factors associated with teenage pregnancy in Gauteng province”, social development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said teen pregnancies were a problem that could not be ignored.
“Yes, girls who fall pregnant have a right to continue with school. This issue, however, contributes to the level of unemployment, considering the girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy.”
Experimentation with sex, and factors such as having multiple sexual partners and partners of disparate ages, had to be discouraged, Mayathula-Khoza said.
The study, part of a national survey, was conducted over five weeks at schools. More than 500 pupils between the ages of 13 and 18 filled in questionnaires, and 19 focus groups, consisting of 10 to 12 pupils, were formed.
The Department of Basic Education estimates that 94000 schoolgirls became pregnant during 2011.
Just over 1600 pregnancies were reported at Mpumalanga schools in the whole of 2012 but by May this year 1 564 pupils were reportedly pregnant .
The Gauteng department of health found that 4217 of 1040760 pupils in the province became pregnant in 2011, compared with 4874 of 953170 pupils three years earlier.
But Mayathula-Khoza said the reduction in the number of pregnancies should not stop the province from taking further action.
Earlier this year Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi lambasted older men who lured girls into having sex for money.
He said girls were four to eight times more likely to be infected with HIV than boys of the same age.
The national department found that 28% of schoolgirls countrywide were HIV-positive, whereas only 4% of boys were infected with the virus.
The DA’s Gauteng education spokesman, Khume Ramulifho, attributed the prevalence of teenage pregnancies to a lack of practical education.
“Children are taught about life orientation at school but, though they might pass with flying colours, the problem does not seem to disappear.” – timeslive.co.za