Gauteng education department (GDE) calls upon its learners to remain focused and to abstain from participating in “pens down parties”.
The department explained “pens down parties” as events where learners, especially Grade 12 learners, celebrate the end of exams. It said often these parties led to tragic incidents.
As the National Senior Certificate Examination are coming to an end today, the department is satisfied they proceeded without distractions, even with Black Monday and the taxi strike incidents where some learners battle to get to examinations venues.
According to departmental spokesperson Steve Mabona, all sorts of “ungodly” activities such as “indulging in drugs”, “unprotected sex”, “tearing of school uniform” take place during these parties. Mabona said as a result, the department implored parents to be alert and monitor the movement of their children and discourage them from participating.
The department also appealed to owners of liquor stores and taverns to see to it that learners do not buy alcohol on their premises.
“We plead with parents and members of the community to discourage these activities since they have the potential to rob our children off their future endeavours. There are people who lost everything because of these activities hence the warning to our children.
“Equally our children need to know that there are more important things in life and consequences of such practices are sometimes detrimental. We encourage our learners to donate their school uniform to their respective schools to be used by those who may need it most, instead of tearing some,” said education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
As an alternative to these parties, the department is instead suggesting learners remain engaged in youth activities organised by the provincial government during the holiday period. Mabona said the social cluster had appointed facilitators, caregivers and site managers for the School Holiday Programme, which will run for the first week of December.
The sessions were created to give learners opportunities to be exposed to various places of interest in the province.
Learners will transported to various heritage sites as part of the programme known as “Know Your Province campaign”. The Johannesburg Zoo, Freedom Park, Constitutional Hill, Maropeng and Gold Reef City are some of the places where learners will be taken.