effects of teenage pregnancy on girl child education




Background to the Study

Teenage pregnancy is an undesirable phenomenon occurring among educationally and economically under-privilege females. Teenage pregnancy is one of the major contemporary issues confronting most countries in the world today. From the first world countries, such as the United States to the third world countries, this problem has become a greater source of worries for policy makers, social workers and other service providers due to its negative repercussions on the girl-child (Grunseit, 2007).

Increasingly, the problem of teenage pregnancy in girl child is by no means an easy topic to discuss. It is often that the teenage years are the “best years of one’s life”. According to Undiyaundeye (2012) in her book titled “Introduction to Child studies: Help us to grow into our dreams” suggested that the girl-child gets misinformation highlighted in the beauty of the teenage years in her famous Quote: “the four stages of human life are; infancy, childhood, adolescence and teenage (the condition of no longer being used or useful) in her opinion, life becomes useless after adolescence period if not properly reared by parents and other adults”. As true as this assertion may be, it is ironic to note that this is the only part of the picture. However, life for many teenagers is a painful tug of war fixed with mixed messages and conflicting demands from parents, teachers, friends, family and oneself.

Teenage Pregnancy isdefined as ‘a teenager or under-aged usually within ages of thirteen to nineteen years becoming pregnant’. The term in every day speech usually refers to women who have not reached legal adulthood who become pregnant, (Oguguo, 2005).

Teenage is often used interchangeably with adolescence. World Health Organization – WHO (2007) opined that, it is the period between 10 and 19 years when the secondary sex characteristics appear. Turner and Helms (2003) reported that the teen years fall between the ages of 13 and 19 years. The issue of pregnancies among teenage girls seems to be one of the social problems facing not only Nigeria, but also several other nations of the world.

Most authors have linked poverty to teenage pregnancy and its subsequent motherhood. They see poverty as a cause at the same time an effect of teenage pregnancy. For instance, Keller, Hilton &Twumasi-Ankrah (2009) opined that in rural communities, family financial exigencies and social custom induce girls to stay out of school and enter into early sexual relationships which lead them into getting pregnant at early stages of their lives thereby making them continue to be in the cycle of poverty. This presupposes that tackling teenage pregnancy would have a trickling down effects on poverty and vice-versa.

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 girls’ 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, 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.”

Cunningham and Boult (2006) also 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 inter-linked ways: firstly a strong dislike of school that leads to truancy, dropping out or formal exclusion (Hosie, 2007), secondly a lack of educational attainment (Hobcraft&Kiernan, 2009), and thirdly low aspirations and expectations of the education system as being relevant for their future employment (Luker, 2006).

According to Hosie (2007) bullying by teachers or other students were instrumental in their dislike of school. Those students whose attendance are poor and who dislike school prior to pregnancy have a negative attitude from their schools on disclosure of their condition and are less likely to remain in school than those who had good attendance beforehand (Hosie, 2007). The extensive literature review by Dilworth (2000) suggested that statistically, young mothers face a life of poverty, have lower levels of education and have less opportunity in the workplace than non-parenting teens. She found that research on teen pregnancy prevention usually focuses on the negative aspects of being a teen parent. It is also alleged that the relationship between teenage pregnancy and education goes in both directions. Teenagers who become pregnant are more likely to drop out of school and teenagers who drop out of school are more likely to become pregnant. It is against this background that this study seeks to explore the effects of teenage pregnancy on girl child education in Khana Local government Area of Rivers  State.

Statement of the Problem

Teen years are the most stressful and confusing times of life. During this period, teenagers are expected to acquire education and skills needed for the future. On the contrary, many teenage girls engage in premarital sex, which expose them to the risks of sexually transmitted infection (STIs) and teenage pregnancies. Pregnancy is usually welcome when it occurs at the appropriate time such as a mature age and in wedlock. On the contrary, it is most unwelcome when it occurs outside of wedlock or during the teen years, when the individual should be acquiring skills in formal or non-formal environments. WHO (2007) and Onuzulike (2002) have indicated poverty, pornography, mass media and peer influence as some of the factors responsible for teenage pregnancy. All teenagers who engage in pre-marital sex are vulnerable to pregnancy.

The issue of teenage pregnancy is no longer a new thing in any society be it developed, developing or less developed nations. Various reasons has been adduced for its existence but the basic problem is the persistency and the geometric progression of its expansion despite all the efforts that has been made by both government, schools, religious bodies and non-governmental agencies at resolving some identified factors leading to this cancerous or decadence in our societies. The basic questions arousing this study are what are the factors that lead to teenage pregnancy  inKhan local government?. What are the effects of teenage pregnancy on educational opportunities for girls child?




Purpose of the Study

          The main purpose of the study is to examine the effects of teenage pregnancy on girl child education in  Khana Local government Area in Rivers State. The specific objectives are;

i.          To examine the factors that lead to teenage pregnancy  in Khan local government.

ii.        To examine effects of teenage pregnancy on educational opportunities for girls child.

iii.     To examine strategies that  can be implemented to over-come the effects of teenage pregnancy

Research Questions

         The following research questions are raised;

i.        What are the factors that lead to teenage pregnancy  in Khan local government.?

ii.              What are the effects of teenage pregnancy on educational opportunities for girls child.?

iii.            What are the strategies that  can be implemented to over-come the effects of teenage pregnancy?

Significance of the Study

            This study would be a great benefits to educational stakeholder, teachers, teenage school girls and researchers.

            The study would be of benefit to researchers because it would serve  as a reference material when carrying out a research on a similar topic.

          This research would be of benefit to teachers because the result of this research will enable teachers to effect of teenage pregnancy on girl child education and how to prevent their girl student from being pregnant

          The result of this study will enable educational stakeholder, teachers,supervisorscounselor to check the activities of schools and organize prorammes or seminar that would educate their students especially their female student on how to avoid unwanted pregnancy and importance of sex education.

          The study would enable parents to know the problems associated with teenage pregnancy and why they need to teach sex education.

          The study would help student to  knowthe effect of teenage pregnancy on girl child education. It study would also serve as guide to students who may want to carryout research on similar topic. The study will be an addition to existing literature.

Delimitation of the Study                    

          The study is delimited to the effect of pregnancy on girl child education in Khana local government Area in Rivers State. Consequently, it is also delimited to five (5) senior secondary in KhanaLocal Government Area of Rivers State.



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