Teenage school girls in South Africa say it’s more fashionable to fall pregnant while still a student because “you are like a fool if you don’t have sex” a study has shown.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, revealed alarming statistics that showed almost 5000 schoolgirls in Johannesburg became pregnant in just one school calendar year.
Minister Motsoaledi said teenage pregnancy between the ages of 12 and 19 has reached such high proportions that education officials, parents and NGOs are working around the clock to address the problem.
Also shocking is that “more than 113 primary school girls, mostly aged between 7-13 years, became pregnant in the same period.”
“What this proves is that our children are having unprotected sex, which makes them more vulnerable.
“Young girls are having sex with older men … old men are targeting young women, whom we must protect,” Motsoaledi is quoted saying.
The report identified a pregnant school girl as saying: “It’s fashionable to have a baby. You are like an fool if you don’t have sex.
“Girls get involved in sex because they’re talking about it at school…Sex is cool. If you are not having sex, it’s like you are stupid.”
The breakdown includes: 397 pregnant pupils at 42 schools in Ekurhuleni North; 530 pupils at 56 schools in Ekurhuleni South; 483 at 53 schools in Gauteng East; 111 pupils at 18 schools in Gauteng North; 433 pupils at 51 schools in Gauteng West;
Schools in Johannesburg Central recorded 444 pupils at 45; 239 pupils at 32 schools in Johannesburg East; 191 pupils at 35 schools in Johannesburg North; 289 pupils at 33 schools in Johannesburg South; and 249 pupils at 34 schools in Johannesburg West.
The statistics has also alarmed African National Congress Women’s League with their president Angie Motshekga, also Minister of Basic Education, quoted expressing concern on high rate of teenage pregnancy.
Motshekga, said the organisation would embark on a campaign to educate
teenagers about safe sex and encourage abstinence to help curb the spread of HIV-Aids.
“This is not acceptable. There has been a lot of research on the issue of teenage pregnancy and one of the things that clearly came out was that early sex was a driver for HIV. We have taken a resolution that every province must come up with its own programme to educate and empower our youth,” she said.
“We want more women to get involved in the education of our learners by monitoring performance and ensure that all learners are at school on time and learning,” Motshekga said.