Education authorities have urged matric pupils to desist from attending end of exam celebrations, known as the ‘pens down’ parties. These parties usually have no adult supervision, safety or security measures in place.
In the past, matric final exam parties had claimed the lives of many young people through car accidents and violence.
Mpumalanga’s Education MEC, Bonakele Majuba, said matric pupils should desist from the parties as they were “destructive” in nature, with unprotected sex and the use of substance abuse, a fixture at these parties. “The so called “Pens Down Parties” must be discouraged because of their destructive nature wherein learners tend to engage in unwholesome activities such as substance abuse, unprotected sex and tearing of their school uniforms leading to others contracting sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and worst of all the loss of lives,” said Majuba.
He called on schools and parents to be alert to the parties as they were usually planned secretly, without the knowledge of parents and teachers. “I request schools and parents to be alert because some of these parties are planned secretly by learners. Parents needs to closely monitor the movement of their children these days to ensure that they do not participate in these parties.
Majuba also requested community leadership including pastors to join the department in condemning these activities and do everything possible to ensure that there is no space for such activities to take place in their areas of jurisdiction.
The MEC urged pupils not to damage their uniforms by ripping them up and writing messages on them, but instead, he called on pupils to donate their uniforms to those who needed them.
“It is in our hands to safeguard the future of our children,” he said.