The effectiveness of the Re-entry Policy in Government Schools: A case of selected schools in Itezhi-Tezhi District of Zambia
Since 1997, the Zambian government has allowed girls who fall pregnant to take leave and go on maternity and then continue with their education after delivery. This shows that Zambia has a policy in place to carter for the continued education of girls returning to school after giving birth. Despite the policy being implemented, many young girls continue dropping out of school due to challenges encountered in their pursuit of education. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the Re-entry policy in government schools, from an educational management perspective, in Itezhi-tezhi District of Central Province of Zambia. This study used the interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and the data analysis approach which involved the coding of emerging themes on the effectiveness of the Re-entry policy in government schools from an educational management perspective. Interpretative Phenomenological analysis (IPA) as an experiential qualitative approach to research in social sciences is concerned with trying to understand lived experiences and how participants themselves make sense of their experiences. The main aim of using IP A was to explore in detail how participants made sense of their personal and social world. This study involved 36 participants composed of two (2) head teachers, two (2) guidance teachers, four (4) teachers, four (4) teen mothers, four (4) guardians or parents of the teen mothers, and twenty (20) pupils of which ten were girls and the other ten 10 were boys. All the participants were picked from the selected two secondary schools in Itezhi-tezhi District using purposive sampling. Purposive sampling was used because it is suitable for the small sample size which was used in the study. The findings of the study indicated that the Re-entry policy was not being effectively implemented in government schools from an educational management perspective. It was also found that there were low awareness levels among pupils about the Re-entry policy. The majority of the learners indicated that they were not aware of the Re-entry policy and this showed that the school management did not adequately sensitize the pupils on the policy. This study recommended that it was necessary to include the Re-entry policy in the school curriculum so that both learners and teachers could have adequate knowledge of it.