The Basic Education Department has extended the deadline for comments on a policy that seeks to educate learners about abortion and pregnancy prevention methods as part of the school curriculum until the 30 July 2018.
“The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has extended the deadline for written submissions on the National Policy on the Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancy in Schools,” the department said in a statement on Wednesday.
Earlier this year, the department issued a gazette in which it invited comments from stakeholder bodies and members of the public on the policy.
The policy is an effort by government to address the high rate of learner pregnancy in the country.
According to the department, the alarming pregnancy rates has become “a major social, systemic and fiscal challenge” not only for the basic education sector but for the national development in general.
“It impacts the lives of many young people often limiting their personal growth, the pursuit of rewarding careers and their ambitions with incalculable impact on the country’s socio-economic systems,” said the department.
The policy seeks to ensure the accessible provision of information on prevention; choice of termination of pregnancy; care, counselling and support; frameworks for impact mitigation; and guidelines for systemic management and implementation.
“In particular, it commits the basic education system and other role players to providing comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) crucial to optimal sexual and reproductive health.
“The aim of CSE is to ensure that young people gain the knowledge and skills to make conscious, healthy and respectful choices about relationships and sexuality,” said the department.
In addition, the policy asserts the constitutional rights of pregnant learners to continue and complete their basic education without stigma or discrimination.
“It confirms that there should be no exclusion of pregnant learners who must be allowed to remain in school during their pregnancies and return as soon after giving birth as is appropriate for both the learner and her child,” said the department.
Interested parties are invited to comment on the policy in writing via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 012 328 8401.
Closing date for comments is 30 July 2018. The policy document is available on the www.education.org.za – SAnews.gov.za