Teenage pregnancy drive did not deliver
A DIALOGUE intended to find a solution to the growing teenage pregnancy problem in Ekurhuleni did not go as planned after its convener, mayor Mzwandile Masina, did not show up.
Only about 50 people arrived out of the expected 300, and schoolgirls, who are most affected by the issue, were a noshow. So were teenage boys.
Of the 4 446 schoolgirls reported to have been pregnant in Gauteng schools last year, 1 289 were from Ekurhuleni, the area in the province worst affected.
Masina called a meeting on Friday to create a platform for parents, teachers and members of school governing bodies from Ekurhuleni schools to interact with the municipality to find solutions to prevent teenage pregnancy.
However, Masina did not show up. It was claimed he had to rush to a protest in Vosloorus.
Senior education specialist Beverley Vilakazi, who attended, said she was highly disappointed by the lack of communication and advertising of the indaba and wished that pupils had been invited to be part of the discussion.
However, the organisers from Masina’s office said pupils were not available as they were busy completing exams.
A parent who requested to remain anonymous, told The Star the indaba was a much needed event as she struggled to discuss sexual matters with her teen.
“I have a 16-year-old who is very curious about sex. And I worry every day about if he will be wise to use protection. We all know that it’s not only the girl’s problem when she falls pregnant,” the concerned parent said.
“I am very sad that our children were not invited to this indaba to engage with issues that involve them, such as teenage pregnancy.”
Vilakazi said she had been hoping to engage in topics to change the way teenage pregnancy was normalised in society.
“We need to see change. If we are going to intervene, we need to intervene so that there’s real change,” she said.
According to Vilakazi, the Ekurhuleni education department has a support unit that offers therapy and an advocacy campaign for girls who are pregnant.
“We can never turn a teen who is already pregnant away,” she said.