Life orientation and pregnancy

THANDEKA:  Jeff Douglas is a Guidance or Life Orientation teacher at Fish Hoek Senior Secondary High School. He says it is very important that Life Orientation be taught at school.

JEFF DOUGLAS: We do have a fairly aggressive campaign anti pregnancy campaign we do need kids to know about contraception, about pregnancy and of course about AIDS.

THANDEKA: When you say you have that aggressive policy. Do you normally tell them that there are contraceptives and what they have to do?

DOUGLAS: We keep contraceptives in the school they know where they can get hold of them. We actually play with condom sometimes so they get familiar with them. We’€™re fairly outspoken about it.

THANDEKA: How is the response from your learners when you talk more about sexuality?

DOUGLAS: I think we have much response as they are children but generally they are very switched on about it. I think they have taken it quite well, they are behaving in a mature way about it. Just on the negative side we have had a few kids who said why these pregnant kids get all this kindness and all this attention. You know, are trying to say to us we should get pregnant as well (laughs) they are a little jealous maybe of their attention but that’€™s very few and far between mostly we had wonderful responses and support amongst our kids for each other.

THANDEKA: When I asked him whether life orientation has any impact on learners, Douglas is optimistic.

DOUGLAS: I’€™d like to think that we’€™re doing some good here when we started tackling this aggressively the pregnancy rate started falling we haven’€™t any at the school at the moment for example but I think you guys in the media have a lot to do with that and just generally I think the message it getting out there.

THANDEKA: Pamela Mjuleni is the newly appointed Head of Department for Life Orientation and Guidance Counseling at Luhlaza High School in Khayelitsha. She says teachers are under-trained and have no expertise to teach life orientation as much as they would want to teach it. She says if teachers try to teach a class but lack the skills to do so, children do not take them seriously. Parents are also sceptical and often believe that if teachers talk about sexuality in schools they are encouraging sex and bad behaviour. Ms. Mjuleni says sex and sexuality are still seen as taboo subjects even amongst other teachers. But, she says schools must tackle these issues.

MJULENI: Sinayo njenge subject efundisa ubomi ngobubanzi noxa ootitshala ingengootitshala abayi train (eleyo) ingootitshala abathathwe nje bafakwa khona kuba kungekho titshala oyitrain(eleyo) kuyafakwa lotitshala ushort (ayo) ngelinyixesha nalowo unomdla wokuzivolontiya kodwa akukho mntu usispecialist ofakiweyo ukuba makafundise yona so yinto ke eyenza mhlawumbi umdla wayo ungabimninzi kootitshala neengxaki zayo kungabilula ukuzi challenge(a) ngokupheleleyo.

THANDEKA: Ingaba zeziphi iingxaki enithi nihlangabezane nazo?

MJULENI: Iichallenges esihlangabezana nazo kwi LO njengokuba ootitshala bengatrain(elwanga) kakuhle kubanzima njengayo kubanzima ukuface(ana) neentwezinjengo sex education kube nzima ngelinye ixesha ukuthetha nento ezidibene nereligion ngoba abanye mlawumbi abakholelwa nakwezo zinto kube nzima kwakhona ukwenza icounseling skills xa ngaba kuye kwakhona ineed yazo kunzima ukufumana kwezi recourses ngoba ayikabiyo subject eneresources ezi available kwi library zethu zabantu abamnyama zininzi nje izinto ndingabala kude kuse but eyona nto asikwazi ukuthetha nababantwana especially isex education kuba asitrain(elwanga)   and yinto etaboo kwi culture yethu into yokuthetha ngesex education.

Enye ingxaki esibanayo kuku involve(a) abazali kuba nabazali yitrauma le yokuxelela umzali ukuba umntana wakho unzima ube ungenaskill sokumcacisela kakuhle umbekele kakuhle ayi understand(e).

THANDEKA: Abantwana banithabatha njani xa ningootitshala nithi nifundise ngalomiba njengokuba kunyanzelekile ngokomgawo wezemfundo.

MJULENI: Kuyaxomekeka mandithi ukuba udibene nootitshala abakudala befundisa abasele bebadala kakhulu iba ngumba onzima kakhulu lowo ngoba isbe ngathi uyabathuma abantwana ukuba mabahambe bokwenza   lonto nasebazalini iba ngumba onzima xa uzama ukubasondeza ukuba mabancedisane nathi ekufundiseni ngemiba   kwizinto zesondo. Ukuba ngaba ititshala incinci mhlawumbi   ititshala encinci kakhulu nalapho abantwana iba nika ingxaki lonto leyo ngoba   bajonga ngaphaya kotitshala bangamboni kakuhle utitshala ukuba ingaba yi lesson eyinyani na lena okanyemhlawumbi uneenjongo ezingaphaya   nakutitshala imenzele nzima lento yokuthetha ngezizinto ebantwaneni ngoba bendisele ndithe ayiyonto eyamnkele ngokupheleleyo kuthi Bantu abamnyama ukuthetha ngesondo ifuna kengoku utitshala ozabe etrain(elwe) kakuhle lento onengqondo e ‘€“ open,   e-open minded kwayean utitshala akwazi ke ukuyi approach (a) ngendlela apha ezakwenza abantwana bayibone into kubana iyi lesson asingomdlalo.

THANDEKA: Marcelle Maas-Olsen is an Education Specialist from the Western Cape Department of Education. I asked her whether teachers were trained to teach life orientation.

MAAS-OLSEN: Yes, they are well trained but there’€™s a syllabus I mean they will follow the life skills syllabus and so within certain grades sexuality would be discussed more deeply than than others.

First of all in the learning outcome you’€™ve got health promotion is one of the areas within this learning outcome and there’€™s a syllabus prescribed outcomes for an example within grade 1, 2 and 3 they’€™ve got food and drink, environmental, health and communicable disease and safety etc so one must just see it’€™s broad covers lot of areas specific to the grade but because it’€™s outcome based the model mode of teaching, process of teaching is different from what we had and that mode of teaching is geared towards the child and it’€™s interactive so I would think that would be a much easier system to gain that knowledge from.

E-mail Thandeka Teyise

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