James Masango MPL
Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition.
The DA calls on the South African Council of Educators (SACE) to investigate the shocking case of 500 teenage pregnancies at schools in just one provincial education district.
The pregnancies, recorded in a regional Education Department survey, brings into question the relationship between teachers and learners.The SACE is mandated to promote ethical behaviour by teachers and has the power to investigate breaches of the Professional Code of Ethics which governs education.
Given that the Ehlanzeni region of the education department has confirmed that complaints about teachers impregnating learners have been widespread in the past, it is the responsibility of the SACE to fully investigate the extremely high incidences of pregnancies in this district.
Today we wrote to the SACE asking them to follow up on all these cases, and to deregister any educators who have been found guilty of sexual misconduct. We have also submitted formal parliamentary questions to the MEC for education, Ms Reginah Mhaule, asking her to provide learner pregnancy statistics for all regions of Mpumalanga.
Many of the girls who have fallen pregnant come from rural villages where the obstacles to education are immense. An unplanned pregnancy at an early age is a major setback for these girls, and undermines their chances for completing their education and having successful careers.
Responsible adults and the institutions that govern education must act to ensure that schools are places of safety for female learners, and not places of abuse.