Parents are not teaching their children
PREDICTABLY, the Basic Education Department’s proposal to teach pupils about their choices in the event of a pregnancy is being resisted. Matakanye Matakanya, general secretary of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, says schools are not the right platform for talk about contraceptives and abortions. “The government has been giving our children the licence to do all the wrong things – it must be stopped. It is due to the government’s policies that we find ourselves with such problems. As parents, we are well capable of teaching our children about morals at home,” he says.
While it is accepted that not all would have resulted from consensual sex, perhaps Matakanya would care to explain the 15 740 schoolgirl pregnancies recorded in 2015.
Some of the young mothers were in grades 3, 4 and 5 – 10, 11 and 12 years old.
The responsibility of educating their children about sex, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases lies with parents, but having abdicated this responsibility, the Education Department must step in to stem the tide of teen pregnancies. In the department’s absence, children will get their (mis)information from peers and online.
The information provided in science subjects at school is an introduction to how the reproductive system works. It does not provide any support for someone in a sexual relationship – willingly or not – or who is too young to know what is being done to them is wrong
Life Orientation should be handled by guidance counsellors or teachers with knowledge and experience, and who should conduct these lessons in a holistic manner that not only educates pupils about pills, condoms and abortions, but makes them aware of the implications of a sexual relationship and what to do in the event of a pregnancy.
Parents and religious organisations should support this initiative. Instead of adopting a head-in-the-sand approach, they should work with the department to determine the content of such education.