Mbabane: A new dawn in the Eswatini education system has not only called for pregnant pupils to return to school but wear maternity clothing as well.
Minister of Education and Training, Lady Howard-Mabuza told this publication that it is only obvious that the pregnant pupils will have to adjust to a new way of life due to the changes happening to their bodies which include the rapid gaining of body weight. “Hence, maternity clothing should be the dress code for the pupils,” said the minister.
The minister stated that the education ministry anticipates that teachers and principals give full support to the pupils in question and not treat them as black sheep.
She mentioned that they (pupils) will have to undergo the mandatory regular prenatal visits to health care providers who will identify potential health problems early and take steps to manage them, and as part of raising a child teachers should ensure that the pregnant pupils do not skip clinic dates. “Teachers and their principals should ensure that the pupils honor their hospital visits with the lone goal of getting them back to class so that they can continue learning,” said Lady Howard-Mabuza, adding that gone are the days when pregnant pupils were scrapped off of the education system and now exists the dictates of the contemporary world.
“Pregnancies have always occurred even during our own school days but they were frowned upon and such learners were treated as outcasts, which resulted in a lot of brilliant minds ending nowhere,” said the minister.
The minister said teachers and principals should know better that a pregnant woman undergoes complications which may induce problems like depression and anxiety, high blood pressure related to pregnancy as well as other infections. Hence, they should be cognizant in terms of managing the pregnant pupils. “There are many complications that come with a pregnant woman and as the education ministry we expect that teachers are versed in that area so that they can know when to help,” said the minister. She reiterated that with the consensus reached by government after consultation with other related parties, it was not an option but a requirement for teachers, parents and communities to adhere.