By FORTUNE NDLANGAMANDLA | 2019-08-18
Ngwane Teachers College Principal Dr Amos Mahlalela made startling allegations that about 50 female students in the institution has committed abortion in a space of a year.
The Sunday Observer understands that the matter is so serious that on Monday, at assembly, addressing all students, the principal spoke harshly about the alarming rate of students who were pregnant. Dr Mahlalela also mentioned that the institution frowns upon students who wear mini-skirts and torn jeans, which reveal thighs.
It is said since the address by the principal, the issue has been the talk of the corridors among students at the teacher’s training college which is situated in the Shiselweni region.
It is said the principal directed that all pregnant students should approach the office of the dean to register. The fear is that pregnant students would be suspended and only be allowed to continue with studies after maternity.
To prove seriousness of the two topics discussed during the gathering, on Friday, Dr Mahlalela issued a notice pinned on the notice board which was directed to the Student Representative Council (SRC).
The notice is titled ‘Re-state of the college address (SOCA)’.
He said the communiqué seeks to remind all students that during SOCA, two important directives were issued pertaining students’ dress code and pregnancy.
“This was no ambiguity in the directives that need to be unpacked. On observation, one week down the line, it looks like some students think this was just a Monday joke of the year,” he said in the notice.
He continued to state that this was exemplified by the continuous ignoring of the college directives.
“Well, you may think so, but at your own peril as you willingly want to be an example of the consequences that one will find himself or herself in. However, don’t say the administration did not warn you,” he warned.
When asked to give clarity about the notice, he first laughed before proceeding to state that the institution was amazed by what it was seeing.
“Wake wakuvaphi nje kwekutsi inombolo lenkhulu kangaka bo-close to 50 bahushulile. Sekhutumuhlola tsine kutsi bantfu sebahushula tisu la, sikubonile loko (we have never heard of such a huge number close to 50 of students who have committed abortion. We are shocked that students are now committing such an offence, we have seen it,” Mahlalela said.
When asked to define the word kuhushula, Dr Mahlalela said it meant to commit abortion in a year not recurring years. He said even hospitals were shocked by the statistics of the abortions at the same college.
When asked how they reached the 50, Dr Mahlalela mentioned that they have observed the students while pregnant and then do balance and checks.
The principal proceeded to state that one could not cross a finger on the statistics as it could be less or more, reiterating that it was a tragedy.
He pointed out that the institution was not at privy on where the students were getting the medication used to terminate pregnancies, however, he stated that now that the institution was taking steps it would be exposed.
He continued to add that the management could not turn a blind eye as if it was not seeing what was happening. He said by turning a blind eye and not addressing such behaviour, it would mean the institution has failed to lead.
He viewed the move by the institution to have records of all pregnant students as a means to regulate abortion. He said by having the records it would be easy to identify individuals who have committed such an offence.
“After all we are saying the students are here for training only, it would be after graduation that they would do whatever they want.
We are giving them a chance to propose that they should be excused and they would return after producing babies (Futsi sikunika nelitfuba, ungakhetsa ucele nekuhamba utsi ngisayo khicikhicita ngitawubuya,” he narrated.
Dr Mahlalela said such students’ spaces would be reserved by the institution and they would not be expelled. He said there was a strategy on how affected individuals would be dealt with while still in the institution.
Mahlalela said one of the college’s regulations was that pregnant students are not allowed but they could only be allowed after giving birth.
“That law states clearly that the college is not for pregnant students, students who want to produce babies should do so outside of the college and they will be allowed to come back.
The regulation further states that after admission a doctor’s report is required to determine if they are fit, if the doctor finds that one is pregnant they have to defer, you’re not allowed in the institution,” Dr Mahlalela elaborated.
Furthermore, he said the pregnant students were those who fell pregnant after they were admitted by the tertiary institution.
Dr Mahlalela said pregnancy among students was one of the constraints as it gives them a hard time, especially during teaching practices and activities.
On the other hand, Shiselweni Regional Education officer Siboniso Gumbi stated that he was not aware of the matter. He said his office should have been informed of the developments. He said Chief Inspector of tertiary institutions Fikile Mdluli would be in a better position to address the matter.
Also referring the matter to Mdluli was Schools Manager Macanjana Motsa. Efforts to discuss the issue with Mdluli were futile as her phone rang unanswered yesterday.
Meanwhile, in September 2017, it was reported that 31 Mvimbeko High fell School pupils pregnant. It was said the figure of pregnant Ateenagers was high for the first time in history that year so much that it raised concerns as to why they were not sent home.
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