Expelled pupil going back to school after giving birth

Expelled pupil going back to school after giving birth.
Expelled pupil going back to school after giving birth.
Image: paylessimages / 123RF Stock Photo

A 17-year-old Grade11 pupil who was barred from returning to school after giving birth is set to return to class after Sowetan's intervention.

 The pupil, from Mtimandze Secondary School in KaMhlushwa, outside Malalane in Mpumalanga, was prevented from returning to her school last week because she “fell pregnant and had a baby”.

The pupil, who attended school throughout her pregnancy, told Sowetan that she was prevented from going back to class when schools reopened last week after months of closure due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

She said the school's principal claimed she had missed “too much work” while giving birth. 

“I’m very disappointed and frustrated at the same time. We have seen people attending school after giving birth, but I don’t know what’s wrong with me. The principal told me that I have lost too much work, but the fact is there’s nothing I have lost because schools were closed and while the schools were closed we had a group of friends whom we used to share some work with. Another line used when I was chased out is that I fell pregnant and had a baby. I don’t know where that affects my education. This is really depressing to me. I really need to go back to school and finish so that I become a teacher,” she said. 

Mpumalanga department of education spokesperson Jasper Zwane condemned the decision by the school and said the pupil will be back at school.

“That’s unfortunate, that's not how we should treat learners. But as we speak, the school is directed to allow the learner back in class without delay and to support her like all other learners,” said Zwane. 

The pupil's father, Promise Mbebe, told Sowetan his daughter fell pregnant last year and attended school as normal until she gave birth at the end of February. 

“She always attended school while pregnant. She gave birth at the end of February and the next month school closed for the March holidays and for Covid-19. While at home my daughter always got school work and did like she was required. But when all the grades returned my daughter was told that she can’t attend school because she fell pregnant. That’s unfair to her. She’s just a child who needs education and is keen to do that,” said Mbebe. 

The school's principal, who would only introduce himself as Mr Maphosa, refused to comment when approached by Sowetan.

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