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WC Education Dept: Need for greater awareness around teen pregnancies

The Western Cape Education Department believes this is critical.

Picture: Freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN - There's a need for heightened awareness around teenage pregnancies at schools.

The Western Cape Education Department believes this is critical.

Earlier this week, Parliament heard there's been a drop in teen pregnancies nationally, although the figures are still a concern for MPs.

In the Western Cape, learner pregnancies have decreased from 2,818 in 2015 to 2,140 this year.

The province has the lowest number of teen pregnancies in the country.

The spokesperson for the provincial Education MEC, Jessica Shelver, says a study has revealed that many youths are sexually active.

“While an alarming 79% of the 35% [who were sexually active] were not using contraceptives, learners indicated they were too embarrassed to go to a clinic, and contraceptives were dangerous and boring. It shows that more sexuality education needs to happen.”

The learners were also asked to give reasons for teenage pregnancies.

“They mentioned peer pressure, social circumstances, not using contraceptives, rape, sexual abuse, raging hormones and access to social grants.”

According to a Human Sciences Research Council study, 16% of South African women aged 15 to 19 have begun childbearing.

The South African Demographic and Health Survey of 2016 has revealed the highest rates of learner pregnancies are in the Northern Cape and North West with 20%.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)