In a shocking revelation, teenage pregnancy at Shakawe Senior Secondary School is said to be the leading cause of school drop outs, with 20 teenage girls currently pregnant.
This was revealed by Maun Education Regional Director Veronicah Mochotlhi in an interview with this publication. Mochotlhi revealed that an analysis on student pregnancy at the school reflects a trend where learners fall pregnant during the school break, after their Junior Certificate Examinations or prior to their admission to Shakawe SSS.
“Ten out of the twenty pregnant students have since dropped out of school, however it must be noted that pregnancy does not disqualify one from writing examinations, unless if the learner is heavily pregnant during the last months,” Mochotlhi highlighted.
She noted that where counselling is done coupled with parental support, pregnant learners who are physically and emotionally fit are allowed to continue with school and sit for their examinations.
Mochotlhi has since raised concern that the students tend to drop out of school immediately when they realise they are pregnant. She noted that they have registered 16 learners who have left school while 10 out of that number was due to pregnancy and 6 was due to various reasons such as ill health and desertion.
Meanwhile, she explained that six months after giving birth, the ministry has a provision to re-admit the learners into Form 4, with proof of medical fitness report from health practitioners. She noted that the re-admission process is done in liaison with the social services office.
She indicated that in an effort to address burning issues such as teenage pregnancy, her department has since collaborated with various stakeholders among them Health personnel, Botswana Police, Village Development Committee and Dikgosi to address various thematic issues.
“The school also engages village leadership to address the issue during the kgotla meetings, Guidance and Counselling Department offers counselling lessons where they discuss various topics including teenage pregnancy and it also offers psychosocial support to learners,’ she stressed.
Recently during a full council meeting, North West District Council Chairman, Kebareeditse Ntsogotho also expressed concerned about high numbers of teenage pregnancyy dropouts in the district. Ntsogotho noted that in just one term they have registered a total number of 23 pregnancies of which one was recorded from primary, two from Junior Secondary and twenty from Senior Secondary school.
He then challenged leadership from various stakeholders to support in curbing the appalling situation of teenage pregnancy in schools.