Early marriages among school going girls: the role of school managers in addressing the problem in selected primary schools in Kapiri Mposhi.

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Mbebeta, Ruth
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The University of Zambia
Early or child marriage is defined as any marriage carried occurring below the age of 18 years, before the girl is physically and psychologically ready to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage and childbearing. This study addressed the early girl-child problems which is a global issue particularly in the global South. Research has shown that the poorest countries had the highest child marriage rates. In Zambia, some parents marry off their daughters when they are still young at school going age. This early girl-child marriage practice contributes to a lot of problems such as illiteracy and poverty. The researcher addressed the issue of early girl-child marriages by involving school managers in selected primary schools in Kapiri Mposhi district. The fight against early marriage among school going girls has often been thrown to traditional leaders and parents ignoring the school manager. This study sought to establish the factors that led to early marriages among school going girls in Zambia and assessed the viability of possible remedies from the perspective of school managers. The general objective of the study was to ascertain what role the school manager could play in addressing early girl-child marriages. The research paradigm was qualitative and the research questions comprised to what extent early girl-child marriages in selected schools were, what factors cause early girl-child marriages from the school manager’s perspective and what solutions could be provided by school managers to address the problem. The findings revealed that most participants had common knowledge of the meaning of early girl-child marriages. Data generated from the school manager through interviews indicated that poverty was the common factor that contributed to early girl-child marriage. The study concluded that school managers had full knowledge on early girl-child marriages but were not doing much to address the problem. It is evident from the study that, most of the young girls of school going age faced challenges of early girl-child marriages as they were not allowed to give their own opinion on the issue. Amongst the causes of early girl-child marriages, poverty was viewed to be the prominent one as it had a greater influence on the girl-child’s education. It is recommended that the Guidance and Counselling teachers should continue guiding the girl-child, government to build more schools within a radius of five kilometres and the District Education Board Secretary’s office should involve schools in order to come up with policies.
Child marriage--Zambia.