Young learners falling pregnant

Doreen Mokgolo

About 4 000 learners fell pregnant in 2016/17, according to statistics released by the Department of Basic Education recently.

I was shocked to learn that these learners fall in the 14- to 17-year-old age group.

They themselves are still young and need the presence of an adult to guide them and make decisions on their behalf.

Imagine these very same young girls now have the responsibility to take care of another soul and be a mother.

I also read about the decision by the Department of Basic Education to distribute condoms in schools.

Many on social media were against the notion, saying it will only motivate the learners to have sex.

We saw the same reaction when the department proposed that girl learners receive pregnancy prevention medication in schools.

I honestly don’t know how we will be able to win this battle.

Parents are on a daily basis urged to speak to their children openly about sex.

However, many see this topic as taboo.

Growing up, we were taught that it was wrong to speak openly about sex, especially to children.

Honestly, though, the times have changed and we have to change the way we discipline the children.

It is evident from the statistics that the old way is not working.

We now have to come up with drastic measure to fight this battle.

I know some would say these children are educated daily in school, as well as through Love Life programmes and other shows on TV that focus on sex, STDs and HIV/Aids.

The learners also attend life orientation classes, yet they still turn a blind eye and do as they please.

The annually increasing number of teen pregnancies tell us this information is still not enough – there is still more to be done to fight this challenge.

I am really worried about these young learners and the psychological damage that comes from being diagnosed with a life-threatening STD or losing the baby.

I shudder to think that most of these young girls were impregnated by older men who took advantage of them.

I am not a parent yet, but I am a sister, and I believe the more open parents are about this topic and the more supportive they are, the better our chances of winning this battle.

Doreen Mokgolo

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