More than 120 000 school pupils gave birth last year

The department of education says these figures are shocking, especially regarding how young the pupils are.

According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), more than 120 000 school pupils gave birth last year.

As stated in the Recorded Live Births 2017 report released by Stats SA, there are 3 261 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 who gave birth last year.

There are 119 645 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 who gave birth last year.

Isolezwe reports that Department of Education (DoE) spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the figures are shocking because of the pupils in grades 6, 7 and 8 giving birth.

The DoE spokesperson was quoted saying the department continuously encourages school pupils to focus on their studies.

Mhlanga said parents should also play a role in this because the worrisome figures are not the department’s problem alone.

He said cases should be opened for 10-year-old schoolgirls who fall pregnant and those aged 16 and upwards should know about the dangers of falling pregnant and should be encouraged to use protection.

Mhlanga said in only one school in Limpopo did one of the pregnant pupils reveal that she knew how to protect herself against falling pregnant.

The DoE spokesperson told the publication that school pupils should not think lightly of the subject Life Orientation because it plays an important role in teaching them about pregnancy and protection.

Life Orientation, Mahlanga added, is not only for female school pupils but for their male peers as well.

According to the Stats SA report, 989 318 women gave birth last year and that this number increased from the figure recorded in 2016.

According to Stats SA key findings: “Of the 989 318 live births registered, 897 750 (90,7%) were current birth registrations (2017 birth occurrences) and 91 568 (9,3%) were late registrations (2016 and earlier years birth occurrences). Overall, there were slightly more male (500 916) than female (488 402) births registered in 2017. For births which occurred in 2017, the sex ratio at birth was 102 males per 100 females. Birth occurrences were high in January followed by March and September respectively, and this has been the case from 2013 to 2017. The completeness of 2017 births registered was estimated at 88,6%.”

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