KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has identified teenage pregnancy as one of the main contributing factors to the high rate of school dropouts.
He was speaking during the announcement of the province’s matric results in Durban on Friday.
The 2021 matric class in the province has obtained a 76.8% pass rate, a 0.8% decrease compared to 2020.
Zikalala has commended parents and educators for the decrease in the number of learners who have dropped out of school in the province.
KZN goverment lauds matric class of 2021:
Statistics South Africa recorded the birth of 899 303 babies in 2020, 34 587 were born to girls aged 17 and younger.
The Department of Basic Education has introduced a new law to reduce and manage the rate of school pregnancies. In December 2022 it gazetted a policy on the prevention of pregnancy in schools.
From January 2022, schools will be compelled to report pregnancies to the South African Police Service if the child is under 16 years old and the expecting father is over 16.
The age of consent in SA is 16, meaning that all sexual activity by those under 16 counts as statutory rape.
On 7 September 2021, the Department of Basic Education briefed the portfolio committee on Teenage Pregnancy and Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
Below is what was presented:
- 33% or 1 in 3 girls do not return to school after falling pregnant.
- School closures and lockdown measures resulted in loss of education and social protection, which resulted in a spike in gender-based violence, leading to an increase in teenage pregnancies.
- 30% of teenage girls between the ages of 10 and 19 fall pregnant and 65% of these pregnancies are unplanned.
- There are about 1300 newly HIV infected adolescent girls and young women in South Africa per week.
-Teenage pregnancy stats sourced from the Parliamentary Group and Statistics South Africa
-Additional reporting by Fanele Mhlongo