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ConCourt hears school pregnancy case

At the heart of the matter is the right to education vs the right of SGBs to implement pregnancy policies.

The Constitutional Court has to determine whether pregnant learners should return to school. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court on Tuesday heard that no School Governing Body (SGD) has a legal right to prevent pregnant pupils from attending class.

The head of the Free State Education Department tried to overrule decisions by two schools, which tried to prevent pregnant girls from returning to class until a year after their babies were born.

But the schools argued the department was infringing on the powers of their SGBs.

At the heart of the matter is the right to education versus the right of SGBs to implement their own pregnancy policies.

In 2012, the Free State High Court ruled against the provincial education department.

It said the department could apply to the court to order the schools to change their policies if they had a problem with them.

Welkom High and Harmony High School exclude pregnant pupils from attending class.

The policy makes pregnant learners leave school for the rest of the year in which they give birth.

The department's Matthew Chaskalson argued that a school cannot issue such an order, even in terms of a code of conduct.

He said the current national provision states pupils who have given birth should return to school as soon as possible.

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