An investigation on the causes and effects of teenage marriage in order to improve learner retention and performance in some selected schools in Zambezi district, Zambia.

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Maseka, M. Samuel
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The University of Zambia
This study was an investigation into the factors and effects of teenage marriages, at individual, family and community levels, using qualitative research methodologies. Two interview guides were administered in data collection and sampling was based on two research techniques, purposive and random techniques. The two main sources of data used were, namely, secondary (desk research) and primary data. A total sample of 30 respondents was selected. The participants were drawn from five sampled schools and communities, namely: Chizozu, Mapachi, Dipalata, Chilen’a Primary Schools and Zambezi Secondary School, including the Planning Officer from DEBS office. The study was guided on the premises of two frameworks, by firstly, girls’ right to education which postulates the rights to education and provision of free compulsory education and secondly, the critical theory, which is concerned with self-reflection, self-understanding for emancipation. The data collected was analysed using tally sheets and thematic content analysis. The research findings revealed that teenage marriages are more prevalent among girls as a result of forced marriages mostly due to high levels of poverty, technology, fashion, inhuman cultural practices and lack of sex education. The study further revealed many rural communities had high cases mostly due to lack of adequate information to prevent or safeguard against teenage marriages on the part of the learners, families and the communities. The study also revealed the effects of teenage marriages which include failed school, delayed school, excessive disease burden, high mortality rates and continued chain of poverty in the families and communities. The study concluded that schools in distant rural areas had a higher rate of teenage marriages than those in peri-urban areas. The determining factor was the level of exposure and knowledge. The study recommended that awareness of consequences and effects of teenage marriages be intensified by the grass-root stakeholders and non-governmental organisations. Engage government and donors to provide more funding to OVCs and provide boarding facilities in schools. It further recommended to encourage girls and boys to be more focused on education.
Teenage marriages.