Causes and Factors Responsible for Teenage Pregnancy

Causes and Factors Responsible for Teenage Pregnancy

Mashudu Richard Ramulumo (University of South Africa, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6108-8.ch003

Abstract

Teenage pregnancy in South African schools poses a serious management and leadership challenge. This chapter is based on the findings of a study that was conducted in South Africa, Limpopo Province. The aim of the study was to examine causes and factors responsible for teenage pregnancy in secondary schools in the Vhembe district of Limpopo Province, South Africa. This chapter explores the consequences of teenage pregnancy. Findings reveal that poverty, lack of parental guidance, and peer pressure could be some of the causes of teenage pregnancy. The study also suggests that pregnant learners are victims of expulsion or school dropout. The study further recommends that intervention programs be developed that include training of school management teams, school governing bodies, and educators to effectively educate and manage learners who are pregnant.
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Introduction And Background

Teenage pregnancy is defined as a teenage girl, usually within the ages of 13-19, who has become pregnant. The term in everyday speech usually refers to girls who have not reached legal adulthood, which varies across the world, who become pregnant (Unicef, 2008, p.1). According to Louw (2011), teenage pregnancy is by definition indicative of unsafe sex, and should be understood within the context of the HIV-Aids epidemic, as stated by the MEC (Member of Executive Council) of health in Kwazulu Natal.

Teenage pregnancy poses a challenge to the global society. Despite the birth rate among teenagers having dropped slowly over the years, the estimate of teenage pregnancies in developed countries is still very high. A significant number of these pregnancies are unplanned, which in any population can raise certain challenges in terms of education. For every child irrespective of color and creed has the right to education.

As Gustafsson and Worku (2007, p. 2) observed, there is a high rate of teenage childbearing in South Africa. United States, Turkey and Brazil have similar levels of girls giving birth during their teenage years. This suggests that teenage pregnancy is a global and social problem which affects both developing and developed countries. Teenage parenthood is the number one reason why girls drop out of school. When school administrators impede pregnant and parenting students’ access to education, they contribute to these dropout rates, even though some girls are unable to cope at school and drop out anyhow (McNeely 2007, p. 269).

The grim realities of teenage pregnancy in South Africa are not pleasant, and they have far-reaching implications. Among others, it poses a serious management and leadership challenge. It calls for the school management teams (SMTs) to acquire critical skills to manage teenage pregnancy within the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996. In addition, teenage pregnancy has huge global policy inferences. Even though a lot has been written on sexual education and its importance. Little if any research has been conducted on learner pregnancy as a hurdle towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education For All (EFA) goals. Drawing on literature this chapter will (1) explore international trends and challenges of teenage pregnancy; (2) look into the causes of teenage pregnancy; and (3) reflect on the consequences of teenage pregnancy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Causes: In this study a cause is the reason why something, especially something bad could happen.

Challenge: Is a difficulty or a problem encountered by SMTs concerning teenage pregnancies in their school.

Secondary Schools: In this study, secondary school is a school that follows from primary school and leads into tertiary education.

Teenage Pregnancy: Is a pregnancy occurring in a school-going young girl between the ages of 13 and 19 years.

Factors: In this study factors are defined are circumstances, facts, or influences that contribute to a result.

School Management Team: Denotes a team of managers at a school compromising of the Principal, Deputy Principal, and Heads of Department (HODs).

Rural Areas: In this study, rural areas are areas where there are small villages, farming, or agricultural areas.

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