Emalahleni – The department of education in Mpumalanga will be sending a support team to a school in the province where pupils have been asked to sign a document committing them to not falling pregnant.

The document, drafted by the DM Motsaosele Secondary School, asks pupils to put their names on an agreement to “commit that I will not get pregnant during the 2017 academic year”.

Education department spokesperson Jasper Zwane said on Friday that the school had supplied a report on the document.

“According to the report received from the school in question, they were trying to be proactive to address this and were not intending to violate the progressive laws of the country.”

The department was sending a support team to ensure a sanctioned pregnancy prevention programme for teens was properly implemented.

Zwane said a survey conducted by the department found that in the first term of 2016 there were 1 361 pregnant pupils in Mpumalanga schools, compared to 1 496 in 2015.

“While there is recorded reduction in numbers, these figures are disturbing especially when you discover in some areas 14 year-old girls fall pregnant thereby becoming mothers when they should be enjoying their youth.”

Zwane said the department was “very serious” about teenage pregnancy.

He said the department encouraged schools to implement measures to curb teen pregnancy, but said these needed to be within the confines of the law.

“Our learners need to focus on their studies, empower themselves to be responsible citizens and everything possible must be done working side by side with different role players to achieve this.”