A policy document proposed by the Department of Basic Education which highlights issues related to the Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancy in Schools has been published.
The policy document is available for inspection by the public on DBE’s website, and the department has requested input from people regarding this design plan.
With a total of 20 pages, the preamble and purpose of the policy document gives the reader insight and a straight answer as to why this proposed action was first drafted.
DBE says, “unintended pregnancy amongst learners is not new to the basic education system but its scale and impact have reached the point where it requires a systemic policy and structured implementation planning.
“Learner pregnancy compromises the planned elimination of gender disparities in education with implications for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of universal primary education and gender equality in education (for the purpose of this Policy, a ‘learner’ means any person receiving education or entitled to receive education in terms of the South African Schools Act 1996 [Act 84 of 1996]).”
The department also acknowledges the fact that learners have a right to basic education, despite their pregnancy or post-pregnancy status.
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A learner should not be discriminated against. Every learner has the right to privacy regarding their health status, the right to dignity and to bodily and psychological integrity.
Although learners have rights, the department urges parents of a pupil who may unintendedly fall pregnant, to support her throughout the duration of the pregnancy.
The department remains adamant in that pregnancy shouldn’t dissuade a child to drop out of school, but it is with the right kind of support that can keep one at school.
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The school, family and broader community within which a learner becomes pregnant also have an obligation to assure the continued education of the affected learner/s and to support them during and after the pregnancy.
For this reason, expulsion or exclusion from school is not an option and officials, principals, school management teams and educators should provide reasonable guidance and direction to these learners.
This approach and its balance of rights and responsibilities should reduce the cumulative impact of learner pregnancy on the system and guarantees the rights of individual learners to a complete and enabling education. Engaging parents and communities in the implementation and scale-up of this approach are critical for success.
Written submissions or comments must be forwarded no later than July 31, 2018.
Please send your submission to:
The Director-General, for attention: Dr F Kumalo, Chief Director: Care and Support in Schools
Address: Private Bag X895, Pretoria, 0001
Fax: 012 328 8401
Email: [email protected]
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