Girl (12) among 554 pregnant Kavango West learners
13 October 2021 | Education
In Kavango West, 554 learners were reported to have fallen pregnant in 2020, including a 12-year-old girl.
The regional council attributed the high number of learners falling pregnant to poverty in the region, where some girls eye social grants to make ends meet.
Other factors that led to the high number of learner pregnancies include peer pressure, social economic pressure, cohabitating, cultural beliefs, sex in exchange for money and negative attitudes towards the use of condoms, Kavango West spokesperson Salomo Tenga said in a statement.
“The Kavango West regional council, through the Directorate of Education, Arts and Culture [DEAC], is concerned with the high learner pregnancy rate in the region, which is hampering performance at schools,” he said.
When asked about the culprits impregnating young girls, Tenga said majority of them are men in the community as well as school drop-outs who prey on female learners.
He said the probe revealed that some of the learners fell pregnant via sexual offenses with youth, as girls were under 16 at the time, and no follow-ups had been done to lead to the responsible fathers.
Tenga added that there is a need to strengthen psychosocial support and increase counselling at schools and further requested for a proper modality to carry out the implementation of a Learner Pregnancy and Management Policy, which has been discovered to be lacking at schools.
“The DEAC has recommended for individual schools to draw up their action plans to address and advocate for learner pregnancy reduction at their respective schools,” he said.
“There’s a need for collective effort from inspectors of education at their respective circuits with principals and stakeholders to address the matter.
“The regional office will further conduct training in the implementation of the policy. It was also decided to have the Regional School Health Task Force advocate against teenage pregnancy and the diagnostic, advisory and Counselling services section to intensify counselling for learner-mothers at schools.”