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Thursday, October 22, 2020
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Minister Angie Motshekga drafted the National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB in light of growing numbers of pupils who are orphaned and made vulnerable by the direct and indirect effects of the illnesses.

One of the proposals in the draft is access to male and female condoms

and information on their use will be made available to all pupils in the Basic Education sector, as well as all teachers, school support staff and officials in both primary and high schools. The principal reason is of course to provide a safe means for students who opt to engage in sexual activities


Perhaps we should dig this matter to find its roots before we attempt to go for easy or shallow solutions to the problem at hand, The real roots of our crisis lie in the fact that the education department itself is doubting own capacity  to  curb problem of sexually active young people without provision of  condoms.


Karl Marx taught me that everything that exist is connected we must therefore be able to see underlying reasons why certain things happen. We must view all related aspects from the beginning of any situation to determine:


1. What are the connections?

2. Which are the most important?

3. How they affect each other?


The only solution to massive teenage pregnancies is to introduce compulsory after school care program. The after-school hours are the time when sexual activity hits its peak, but through attentive adult supervision and quality after-school programs, we can protect our children. Experience has taught us that in communities where comprehensive after school programs are available, children are less likely to commit crimes, find time to engage in sexual activities or to be victimized.  After-school programs also help to improve the academic performance of participating children, meaning this solution will also help us to also improve the colossal decline of quality matric results, because  after-school programs allow children to focus on areas they have challenges or those learning areas they are experiencing some difficulties.


This can only be successfully implemented if the department pays teachers who will facilitate this program. The money earmarked for this condoms solution must be shifted to this program instead of creating another condom tender that will benefit those that are connected. We know that you do widely encourage these programs in schools, but the whole exercise becomes a failure because teachers, who are supposed to run these programs and are committed to them, are not getting paid. Rewarding teachers who participate in this program will not be a waste but will be a plausible action.


Children, families and communities will benefit in measurable ways from compulsory extended learning programs, as an alternative to children spending large numbers of hours alone or with peers in inadequately supervised activities. Well-planned and well-staffed programs provide safe havens where children can learn, take part in supervised recreation, and build strong, positive relationships with responsible, caring adults and peers. Communities are better when their young people are occupied in meaningful, supervised activities.


We need to strengthen our SBST (schools based support teams) to be office based and people heading them at schools should act as de facto counselors. These offices at schools would ensure that there is a counseling provision available to all school learners giving them confidence that their needs are heard and will be addressed, because some of the problems if not adequately addressed are gateway to resort to sex at early stage.


For now take the Condom Solution to Dustbin

First thing first...


Action Setaka is the Chairperson of School Governing Body writing in his individual capacity

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