THE EFFECT OF EARLY PREGNANCY ON FEMALE STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE SUDY
Education is central to the development of young people as it prepares them for the world of work and life. As young people spend longer periods in education, as part of the natural course of development, sexual experimentation and maturity is increasingly coinciding with secondary schooling (Panday, Makiwane, Ranchod & Letsoalo, and 2009:5). For many teenagers it remains at the level of experimentation, and if sex occurs, indications are that some form of contraception is used when teenagers are still at school (Bhana, Morrell, Shefer & Ngabaza, and 2010:873). However, for many secondary school girl’s it results in pregnancy, HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (Mwaba, 2000:32). Being a secondary school girl’s who is pregnant or a mother has implications for continued educational opportunities. South Africa is confronted with an escalating epidemic of secondary school girl’s pregnancies. According to Panday et al. (2009:21) secondary school girl’s’ pregnancy has grown in significance as a social construct and as such represents one of several indicators of burgeoning secondary school girl’s delinquency, sexual permissiveness and moral decay. Chigona and Chetty (2007:2) see secondary school girl’s pregnancy as a socioeconomic challenge and an important health problem for many communities in South Africa. It is a reflection of irresponsible sexual behavior and inconsistent use of contraception. According to Oni, Prinsloo, Nortje and Joubert (2005:55) secondary school girl’s pregnancy may include health risks such as complications during pregnancy or delivery and secondary infertility if an abortion is done. In addition, the possibility of dropping out of school is considerable which results in a lack of educational qualifications and future employment.
Mngoma (2010:11) says that secondary school girl’s pregnancy is considered to be a disaster by most people. Yet secondary school girl’s pregnancies are increasing in number each year and are occurring at younger ages. Although this trend is noticeable all over the world, the problem is greater in developing countries like Nigeria (Devenish, Funnell & Greathead, 2 2004:180). According to Karra and Lee (2012:12) the pregnancy rate amongst secondary school girl’ss in South Africa remains high by international comparison and the rate of 13% in rural areas in KwaZulu-Natal is twice the national average of 6.5%. Medical risks, disruption of education and long-lasting emotional problems are associated with secondary school girl’s pregnancy (Kanku and Mash, 2010:563). According to Newman (2008:4) the choice of what to do when the pregnancy is confirmed is too serious a matter for the level of maturity of most secondary school girl’ss. A pregnant secondary school girl’s often faces confusing advice from people regarding pregnancy, child-rearing and education and this can undermine her confidence in herself and her ability to cope (Changach, 2012:3). In their research Karra and Lee (2012:15) found that most secondary school girl’ss perceive falling pregnant while still at school as a negative event with consequences such as difficulty at school or drop out, unemployment, quilt feelings, alienation from family members and friends and loss of a boyfriend. Mazibuko (2002:2) points to the fact that a baby changes its mother’s life in many ways. A pregnant secondary school girl’s has to consider her future and the things she may not be able to do once the child is born (Hughes, 2002:23). Will she be able to finish her education and have a professional career? Therefore, a pregnant secondary school girl’s needs to calculate the risks involved and determine whether she can take proper care of a baby and complete her education (Nash, 2002:151).
Teenage pregnancy is one of the social ills that affect society. The existence of teenage pregnancy do not auger well for the development of the girl-child. This is attributable to the girl’s’ age and the absence of any consistent means of support to care for the children and themselves when they should have been in school. It is alleged that teenage pregnancy and its associated motherhood are characterized with shame, disgrace, and school dropout and sometimes end of the individual’s dreams of achieving higher pursuits. According to Yampolskaya, Brown, and Greenbaum (2002), “…approximately 60% of adolescent mothers live in poverty at the time of the birth of their babies, and approximately 73% go on welfare within 5 years of giving birth.”(p8) Cunningham and Boult (1996) asserted that teenage pregnancy has a lot of social consequences which include school drop-out or interrupted schooling, falling prey to criminal activity, abortion, ostracism, child neglect, school adjustment difficulties for their children, adoption, lack of social security, poverty, repeated pregnancy and negative effects on domestic life. It is suggested that school drop-out is a “uniquely predictive factor” of teenage pregnancy and a precursor to, rather than a consequence of, becoming pregnant (Bonell et al, 2004). Difficulties with school are accounted for in three.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This research work is to look into the causes of teenage pregnancy among female students and its effect on the educational development. Millions of children return from school to an empty house because both parents are of the working class, which makes many teenagers less parents. Dysfunction families have set the stage for pregnancy. Many parents feel that their young ones will be taught sex education in school while the schools have failed to meet that demand. So good foundation of sex education both in school and at home, there is also the powerful influence of the media because teenager usually spend more likely to practice these behaviours in real life and have multiple sexual partners. In our computer age, children do not need to have computer in their homes before using one, the use of computer have increased in many country including Nigeria and sexual materials of all kinds are easily accessible through the internet. Unsupervised internet use may expose teenagers to pornographic and sex chart room, some teenagers are willing to accept sex if they are paid and some adult encourage teenage sex by deliberately taking advantages of their being poor.
Most parents fail to understand their children and do not have a close relationship with their children as a result, find it difficult to confide matters to their parents.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
School age girls who become pregnant come from all socio-economic classes, all parents suddenly. The main objective of this study is to assess the influence of early pregnancy on the performance of secondary school students. The specific objective are
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