An exploration into increasing teenage pregnancy in government secondary schools in Lukulu district of western province.
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Teenage pregnancy and its effects on education are major challenges that affect the quality of girls’ education not only in Lukulu district but worldwide. Teenage pregnancy is a major concern in government secondary schools in Lukulu district and mainly affects girls aged 13 to 19 years. The study identified the causes, effects and solicited for strategies to prevent or reduce teenage pregnancy in six government secondary school in Lukulu district. The research approach used is qualitative approach propelled by descriptive design. The sample size was 78 consisting of 6 Head teacher, 6 Guidance teachers 18 teachers 24 Learners (12 teenage mothers and 12 Non- teenage mothers) and 24 parents from Parents Teachers Committees (PTC) who were purposive sampled because of the knowledge and experience to increase the utility of the information obtained. Data from one to one semi-structured Interview Guides and Semi- Structured Focused Group Discussions were thematically analyzed. Presentations of finding were graphics, direct quotations and simple narrations. The findings of the study ascertained that the increase in teenage pregnancy in secondary schools in Lukulu was as a result of poverty or lack of support, peer influence or pressure, recreational activities in the community, traditional beliefs and practices, alcoholism and drug abuse, separation of couples and lack of knowledge on contraceptives. The effect of teenage pregnancy on the girls’ education were poor academic performance, absenteeism, school dropout, delayed completion of education, economic difficulties and hardships, family conflicts, health complications, abortions, suicide, family conflicts, and transmission of sexually transmitted Infections. These effects had detrimental effects on the girls’ education directly or indirectly and hindered their progressive rate and quality of education. The strategies solicited to prevent or reduce teenage pregnancy were increase funding on bursary scheme, free education to all the girls from poor family households, provision of accurate information during sexuality education by qualified personnel, initiation ceremonies to focus on abstinence and good hygiene, monitoring teenage activities and provision of counsel to teenagers with deviant behaviour both at home and in school, and enhanced provision of guidance and counseling services to all teenagers in schools by a qualified and Trained Counsellor. Other strategies include conducting community outreach activities to focus on the importance of education, sensitizing learners on the causes, dangers and control measures using posters and Audio-visual shows during major events like Open Days and Independence, dramatization of teenage pregnancy to portray, effects and preventive measures. Introducing Family Planning Centers in schools to talk about contraceptives usage and focus on condom availability in schools and encouraging abstinence, and law enforcement to punish perpetrators of teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse and early marriages. It is hoped that with all the strategies being implemented teenage pregnancy might be prevent or reduce.
The University of Zambia