MMADINARE: Mmadinare Senior Secondary School is grappling with high number of school dropouts due to pregnancy, after 51 female students dropped out in the years between 2014 and 2015, with the latest statistics for this term, indicating ten new cases of female students pregnancy.
Despite having achieved positions 7 previously and having had students who qualified for excellence awards in the past year, the school dropped to position 23 with 18.67 percent during this year’s results. None of the students has qualified for the excellence award but one students missed the prestigious award after falling short with only one A*.
Last year alone the school lost 41 students due to pregnancy; 13 during the first term, 18 during the second term and ten students during the third term. This emerged during the Parents Teachers Association on Thursday. As at the end of first term this year already ten students have dropped out as highlighted during the PTA meeting by Guidance and Counselling teacher Diana Tshambani.
She added that of the ten pregnant students this year, 4 of them are form 5s while six of them are form 4s and added that four of the form IV dropouts are from Mmadinare village. She said the trend among the form IV’s shows that they came to the school already pregnant. He said it is a worrying factor that most of the dropouts are from Mmadinare village yet the village has the lowest number of students compared to those coming from other villages.
She added that all these are medically confirmed pregnancies. She added that in some instances parents report the pregnancy to the school management. She noted that some of the students just abscond from school without making necessary arrangements to be able to be enrolled again after confinement. She explained to students that pregnant girls should be officially released from school and return all the school property such as textbooks as well as to remove their belongings from the school and be issued clearance form.
Tshambani said upon return to school after 6 months the student is expected to bring the baby’s birth certificate and an application letter for enrolment. “We continue to lose students due to pregnancy despite that we are doing our best to equip them with the right information and right life choices. They know the consequences of indulging in such activities very well,” she said.
PTA Chairman Modise Motshegwa said during an interview that his committee will convene a meeting with traditional leadership, councilors and other stakeholders to try and address the situation. He said they suspect that perpetrators are village people because most victims are day scholars.
The school management complained during the same PTA meeting, about students’s unbecoming behaviour resulting in poor performance.
“We have never experienced such a drop in the past. We also discovered that about 22 students did not sit for some papers during the examinations. Some students just decide to abscond from schools especially the day scholars, some do not write notes or do projects,” said deputy school head Baoni Phuthego. He added that the school has been engaging some student’s parents on the matter unfortunately some parents were not forthcoming.
He added that school has since embarked on a turnaround strategy to enhance teamwork between management and parents.