By ARETHA LINDEN
Sex, stealing and substance abuse have become the leading leisure activities for Eastern Cape pupils.
This was revealed by the acting education superintendent-general (SG) Sizakele Netshilaphala yesterday at a Learner Leadership Conference at which learners representative council (LRC) members from more than 500 schools gathered to talk through solutions to the hurdles they faced in their schools.
The two-day conference was held at the East London International Convention Centre (ICC) on Tuesday and yesterday.
The hurdles include the high rates of teen pregnancy, dropouts, HIV and TB infection, and alcohol and drug use.
According to statistics analysis of 280000 Eastern Cape pupils who started school in 2004 only 66000 made it to matric 12 years later. In 2015, 243 pupils fell pregnant and more than half of the 833 pupils who died that year died from illnesses.
The 560 conference participants were divided into groups to discuss different challenges, and their outcomes were presented to officials from the department, including MEC Mandla Makupula and premier Phumulo Masualle.
The challenges highlighted by the pupils include:
lTeachers doing “other” things such as painting their nails or fiddling with their cellphones rather than teaching during school hours;
lTeachers shifting their duties, such as writing notes on the board and marking test papers, to pupils;
lTeachers having sexual relations with pupils;
lTeachers locking up and preven-ting pupils from accessing facilities such as science laboratories; and
lLate provision of teachers and learning materials such as books, and scholar transport problems.
Lutho Mtukwana, a pupil from AV Plaatjie Senior Secondary School in Mthatha, said from the discussions, they discovered that there were pupils who actually came to school just to look for “blessers” or “sugar mommies” to have sex with.
The acting chief director of social support services, Thembani Matyida, said the recommendations that came out of the conference would be compiled into a report. -— email@example.com