A pregnant learner at Seme Secondary school in Daggakraal, Mpumalanga.
JOHANNESBURG – Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said he was very concerned about the "alarming number" of pregnant pupils in the province.
The Gauteng Education Department said 4,446 pupils school girls fell pregnant in the past year.
Lesufi called the situation demoralising, but said his department would not throw in the towel.
“Our mission within the education space is to take these children out of poverty and if we have over 4,400 (pregnant pupils) already it means we are recycling poverty instead of defeating it,” Lesufi said.
“It is disgusting... but we have to confront it and that is what we are doing now.”
Lesufi believed that sex education at schools could be one of the solutions to curb the rise in teenage pregnancies.
However, he believed that sex education should also include parents.
“[L]et’s not say these (pupils) are statistics. Let's treat them as human beings. So we have pulled in our social workers - they are analysing how each and every child... fell pregnant.”
The department said it had no choice but to re-train teachers on sex education.
“Teachers are trained to teach and are not midwives and (to) speak about these issues, but we have no choice but (to) retrain our educators (and) also accelerate the involvement of parents.”
Most of the school pregnancies in Gauteng occurred in Ekurhuleni, with 1,289 expectant pupils.