Ground Up lets pupils voice out concerns

The rate of pregnancy among school learners in South Africa is alarming and has become a major challenge at schools as it affects the lives of thousands of young people, often limiting their growth and their pursuit of rewarding careers.[1] When a school implements a policy that excludes pregnant pupils, it violates their right to education.

The article titled, “Mamelodi school under investigation for policy excluding pregnant leaners” (06/02/2023) by Ground Up receives a GLAD[2] for highlighting an important issue in school and accessing learners for their views. The article which is written by Warren Mabona reports on a school in Tshwane that allegedly implemented a policy at the beginning of the year to exclude pupils who are pregnant from attending classes unless they are accompanied by their parents daily, so the parents look after the pupils.

According to the article, the Gauteng Department of Education has lodged an investigation and instructed the school to withdraw such a policy. The journalist interviews pupils on how they feel about the policy and captures their views well in the article.  The journalist includes voices from both boy and girl children in the article which is crucial and empowering.

One pupil says, “I’m not a girl, but I’m grateful for the department for taking this action because it will protect the rights of my fellow learners.”

Another grade nine pupil says, “Our parents also have many things to do at home and should not be required to come to school and look after their pregnant children.”

The journalist must be commended for interviewing the children and giving them the opportunity to speak out on matters affecting them. Such an effort by the journalist to interview children could help increase the number of children’s voices in the media. A recent media monitoring report[3] by MMA on coverage of children showed that children’s voices in the media stood at 7% in 2021.

 By including the children voices, the journalist adhered to MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media.[4] The Guidelines urge media to access children stating, “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so try and include them.”

We urge GroundUp to continue reporting children’s issues in this manner, so that issues facing the children can be addressed urgently.

Written by Msizi Mzolo

Edited by Ntombi Kubeka


[2] A GLAD is awarded to the media for reporting on children where the children are accessed etc.


[4] See p.3