Pupils Speak Out: Peer pressure against using protection
The article you are about to read is part of a weekly series of comment pieces written by South African pupils about the problems they encounter in their schools. The series offers pupils a chance to be part of the debate about South Africa’s education system.
Government should prevent pupils getting pregnant at an early age by distributing condoms at school and parents must teach their children to use protection.
Because of peer pressure, teenagers get pregnant and drop out of school. When they drop out they do not have a bright future.
Nurses and teachers always tell us that we must use condoms, pills, injections or abstain so that we don’t fall pregnant but in reality we are afraid of other pupils who don’t use protection and will laugh at us if we use it.
Children who are pregnant can also put pressure on those who are not pregnant to want to be pregnant.
I can say teenagers must avoid peer pressure because it has bad results for their future. I experienced it with my sister who was pregnant at an early age. She was 15-years-old and now she has no bright future because she is staying at home.
Being pregnant leads a pupil to not concentrate on her studies. She will also be stressed and worried about what she is going to do with her baby once it is born.
Around three to four months of being pregnant she will get sick because of what we call morning sickness. She will always leave the class to go to the bathroom but the lessons will continue while she is in the bathroom.
We believe that children must stay at home while they are pregnant but the school must provide textbooks for them so that they can continue studying at home. After they give birth they should come back to school.
Parents must tell us that we must abstain or use protection. Government must make a law that says children must get married before they get pregnant or must not be under the age of 25 before getting pregnant.
The pupils who wrote this comment piece are participants in a nongovernmental organisation’s writing programme that offers reading and writing guidance to grade 11 and 12 pupils at rural schools in the Eastern Cape’s former Transkei. The pupils and the organisation asked to remain anonymous.