‘It must be up to parents to teach children about sex’
NOT everyone agrees that schoolgirls should learn about abortion after the Department of Basic Education called for comments on its draft policy on the prevention and management of learner pregnancy.
For many, more education at home and school is needed to prevent girls from having sex before they have finished their schooling.
Cultural activist Nomagugu Ngobese, of the Nomkhubulwana Cultural Club – which promotes virginity testing and abstinence from sex until marriage – dubbed the proposal as another tactic by the government to lay its “dirty hands” on state funds.
“Firstly, we were tricked into believing that making condoms (contraception) available to our children would help in addressing teenage pregnancies. All we have witnessed are (used) condoms lying around,” she said.
Ngobese felt some policies of the government destroyed children’s futures by interfering in matters that had nothing to do with the government or the public space.
“What would the country gain by telling our children who are still at school about abortion? The use of the morning-after pill is a negligent practice only adults can decide on, knowing that they had the capacity to cope with the consequences.”
New data reflected that in 2015, 15 740 schoolgirls, some in Grades 3, 4 and 5, fell pregnant.
The department said unwanted pregnancies robbed girls of a chance to get an education, and changed their lives.
Charisse Zeifert, of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, felt it was everyone’s responsibility to ensure that pupils received sexual education.
“The more educated our children are about their bodies, the better informed; the better the choices they will make in life,” said Zeifert.
Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, the chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, said that while some teachers might have limited knowledge on the termination of pregnancy she questioned the psychological and spiritual effects for the girls concerned.
“The commission has witnessed situations of young girls who experienced the spiritual and psychological effects after abortion. It also has longterm problems especially for people with high spiritual values. They tend not to cope,” said Mkhwanazi-Xaluva.
She said if the teachers were expected to give lessons on this, it would put pressure on them to teach pupils something they knew nothing about or did not agree with.
Professor Labby Ramrathan, the director at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Education Studies, said the policy would not work because it would put more pressure on teachers. “I believe the department should leave parents to teach their children about such things,” said Ramrathan.
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