I noted with concern the media reports that the authorities are contemplating granting four months of maternity leave to girls who become pregnant at school.
The morality of this decision is questionable. What sort of society are we building?
Does such a "development" attempt to promote and protect the human rights of individual pupils or the rights of communities to cultural and religious values?
I view the school as an integral part of the cultural, religious and linguistic community. Granting pupils maternity leave ridicules the school as well as community and national value systems.
Schoolgirl pregnancies are a symptom of social disorder. Though it might be argued that we are a diverse nation with different values, it is debatable if any community upholds the "value" that pupils might become mothers.
And what of the ability of pupil-mothers to support their children? It would seem that the grandparents must care for the baby while the mother attends school and the state provides a monthly child grant. Hopefully, she will not then demand an RDP house for her family.
We need a national dialogue on national values regarding pregnancy and schools, health and HIV-Aids prevention and related community and public policies.
Pumla Madiba, Johannesburg