Teens take to sex like ducks to water, says state

Kingdom Mabuza and Sapa

Kingdom Mabuza and Sapa

Teenage pregnancy is on the rise in schools despite efforts by the government to discourage pupils from indulging in sexual activity.

Nkululeko High School in Uitenhage is losing the fight against teenage pregnancy with 11 pupils currently pregnant while 15 have already given birth this year.

Many more schools face the same problem.

Teachers and pupils of Masisebenze Secondary School in Tembisa, East Rand, were shocked this week when a 17-year-old pupil gave birth while at school.

Pregnancies have increased in schools since the government declared pregnant pupils should not be barred from classes.

Teachers say the pregnancy rate has caused high levels of absenteeism and failure as girls attend to their their babies during school hours.

Some of the pregnant girls at Nkululeko School as well as those who had already given birth said they were coping despite the workload.

Principal Thobeka Stokwe attributed the high absenteeism and failure rate to the fact that the pupils had to divide their time between school and their babies.

Stokwe said a Grade 12 pupil who gave birth during the public service strike in June had missed almost two months of schooling because of complications with her pregnancy.

In 2005 26 pupils fell pregnant at Thembalethu High School in George.

The IFP said the teenage pregnancy rate should be regarded as a national crisis.

"Children are promiscuous and violent, and they are uncontrollable because parents are often not strict and responsible enough," said IFP MP Alfred Mpontshane.

He said it was even more alarming that some parents had admitted to giving up on their children.

Department of Education spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele said the department was committed to discouraging pupils from engaging in sex.

But Health spokesman Sibani Mngadi said there were no statistics to prove that teenage pregnancies had increased.