Influence of teenage pregnancy on students academic performance in secondary school
1.1 Background to the study
Teenage is a stage in life in which the individual (male or female) begins to develop sexual characteristics. It is usually between the ages of 13-19 years (WHO 2013). At this stage in life, sexual desires are often at their peak. Teenagers are in what Bible calls “the bloom of youth” a time when their sexual organs develop and they become capable of having children. Pregnancy begins at the moment a single spectrum fertilized a matured ovum (egg). In a normal ejaculation during sexual intercourse, about 200, 400 million sperm are deposited into the upper vagina, of this number; a few thousand remain within the virginal and die within 3 days. Only a few manage to make their way into the body of the uterus and move upward to the fallopian tubes where fertilization occurs. Only one sperm penetrates the membrane of the ovum to unit with the egg. When this occurs, a zygote is formed. The fertilized egg then makes its way down to the fallopian tube to the uterus for implantation. The journey to the uterus may result to pregnancy. (Austin c r “capacitation” of mamallian sperm pubmed 1952).
Moreso, the fact that most parents pay less attention to their children, coupled with the fact that teenagers today are growing up in a culture in which peers, television and motion pictures, music and magazine often transmit either covert or overt message that unmarried sexual relationship (specifically those involving teenagers) are common accepted and at times expected behaviour have contributed immensely to the moral decadence rampant among our teenagers.(Every woman ,Every child 2015). Education about responsible sexual behaviour and specific clear information about the consequences of sexual intercourse (including pregnancy, sexual transmitted disease and psychological effects) are frequently not offered in the home, at school or in the community settings. Therefore, much of the sex education teenagers receive filters through misinformed and/or unified peers. All these of course lead teenagers into early dating behaviour (which lead to premarital sex) and early use of alcohol or other drugs, including tobacco products, which could lead to pregnancy.
However, to be pregnant is a right that is supposed to be shared with one’s life partners unfortunately, due to various reasons, it has been abused by our teenagers today. Statistically four in ten girls become pregnant before 20 years of age, and about 40% of teenage mothers are under 18 years of age (Awake, 2014). This is as a result of various factors, such as the effects of broken homes, ignorance of the conservancies of sexual activities, lack of self-respect on the part of some teenagers to experience sex, as well as their failure to take necessary precautions (for sample, having sexual intercourse without adequate contraception. This in turn has lead to a high rate of school dropout, cycle of poverty, destitution, increased rate of abortion, emotional depression high level of delinquency, high mortality rate, reduced labour force as well as drop in the standard of living of the teenagers involved, their families and the society in general. It should be noted that both teenage mother and father may suffer economic hardship and fail to achieve their education and career goals. Those who could not complete their high school (secondary school) education often find themselves in a cycle of poverty out of which is hard to break.
According to Lynn (2011), it is as if those female students that fall victim of teenage pregnancy feellike they lose their previous lives when they give birth. Their new lives revolve entirely around their baby. The female students may fall into a depression while trying to handle the emotions pregnancy creates and all of the possibly negative feedback about the pregnancy from friends and family (Lynn, 2011). Caused by depression and isolation, teenage motherhood has been associated with problems such as low self-efficacy, poor knowledge of child development, increased stress, depression, insecurity and disorganized attachment patterns (Schmidt, 2009). When teen mothers receive encouragement fromtheir social support systems to try new things, they will likely acquire a higher level of self-esteem and self-assurance (Bowman, 2012).
Teenage pregnancy is a national problem that affects the community and society at large (Spear, 2004). According to Farber (2003) the individual and social costs of teenage pregnancy increasingly result from unmarried young women choosing to keep and raise their children, often with compromised means for supporting and nurturing them. Teenage mothers become economically dependent due to their failed educational attainment, subsequent high fertility rates and greater occurrences of single-parent families (Brindis & Philliber, 2003). Not only is adolescent pregnancy economically costly, it poses various social consequences for teen mothers. Becoming an adolescent mother has been associated with lower educational attainment, which often leads to poverty and/or high school dropout (Meade & Ickovics, 2005). Pregnancy is one of the reasons commonly confessed by female secondary students for dropping out of secondary school (Brindis & Philliber, 2003). Pregnant secondary students are more likely to have lower career aspirations, attain less prestigious occupations, experience less satisfaction with career progress than their non-pregnant peers, and feel their future job choices are limited (Desirae, 2005).
Teenage mothers are more likely than older mothers to live in socio-economic deprivation, to be benefit-dependent, and to have lower education and literacy. They are less likely to receive social support from friends, family or their children’s fathers, and more likely to have mental health and substance abuse problems (Collins, 2010). According to Desirae, (2005) many adolescent mothers are less likely to secure a job or attend college because adolescent mothers often lack work experience, educational skills, and job training, they are less competitive in the workforce. As a result, a large number of teenage mothers are disproportionately poor, depending on public assistance to support them economically (Rothenberg & Weissman, 2012).
Teenage pregnancy rates vary from state to state, and they appear to be influenced by a couple of different factors. In general, states with the highest number of teens tend to have the highest number of teen pregnancies (Guttmacher, 2010). Educational outcomes of both the teen parent and the child are also critically impacted by teenage pregnancy. Children born through teenage pregnancy are also more likely to have lower Mathematics and reading test scores, and are more likely to be retained in school (Pilar, 2011). Pilar (2011) argued that teen mothers are not receiving the education to which they are entitled.It was suggested that school drop-out is a uniquely predictive factor of teenage pregnancy and a precursor to, rather than a consequence of becoming pregnant (Pilar, 2011). According to Hosie (2007), pregnant school girls do face with bullying by teachers or other students that 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).
1.2. Statement of the problem
It is observed that teenage pregnancy has remained persistent in our local communities due to various contributing factors and has had negative impacts on the life of the teenagers involved, for example, Spear (2011) affirms that teenage mothers are likely not to complete high school education (i.e secondary school education) the non completion of a secondary school education limit the life earning potentials among the teenage population, which could perpetuate the cycle of impoverishment among them.
Based on this, the study is therefore designed to investigate the causes and influence of teenage pregnancy on the academic performance of the female secondary school students in Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo State.
1.3. Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the Causes and Influence of Teenage Pregnancy on Academic performance of Female Students in Secondary School in Akure South Local government area of Ondo State
Specifically the study will ;
- Identify the causes of teenage pregnancy on academic performance of female students in secondary schools in Ondo West Local Government.
- To determine the kind of attitude that female secondary school students have towards the risk behavior of teenage pregnancy.
- To examine the relationship between teenage pregnancy and the academic performance of female students in secondary schools in Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo State.
1.4. Research questions
Five research questions were raised to guide this study. They are as follows:
- What are the effect of early pregnancy on education and the academic performance of female students in Ondo West local government area of Ondo State Ondo state?
- What are the causes of teenage pregnancy among female students in Ondo West local government Area Ondo State
- Willpoor academic aspiration be an effect of teenage pregnancy among female secondary school students in Ondo West Local Government Area?
- Will low class attendance be an effectof teenage pregnancy among female secondary school students on teenage pregnancy in Ondo West Local Government Area?
- What is the attitude of female secondary school students toward the risk behaviour of teenage pregnancy?
- To determine the precautionary measures of preventing the teenage pregnancy?
1.5. Significance of the study
The use of any research study is to improve the area immediately concerned with the study and the society at large. The significance of the study cannot be over-emphasized. This study identifies and examines performance of female secondary school students in Ondo West Local government area and it is therefore, hoped that the result of this study would help to achieve the following.
To provide vital information on the possible causes and effects on teenage pregnancy on their academic performance. Such information is very vital in providing lasting solution to the problems.To help parents and teenager to clearly understand the adverse effects of teenage pregnancy with all of its implications.To provide adequate information to every school in the local government area under study, concerning the various methods that can be used to avoid or prevent teenage pregnancy which could lead to school dropout among the students (especially the sexually active ones). This will go a long way in enabling the students to accomplish that educational and career prospects.
As already seen above on the justification, the outcome of this very important study has provided a more precise understanding of how teenage pregnancy influences school dropout and how that affects the education of the girl child in this particular region, the causes of teenage pregnancy as well as the possible remedies that can be employed to control the problem.
Those most likely to benefit from the findings of this study are the Ministry of Education and the school management authorities, especially in the formulation and strengthening of policies that guard teenage pregnancies in schools and the possible re-admission of the affected girls back to school. The civil society is another potential beneficiary of the outcome of this study in their course of championing for the rights of the girl child in attaining education, while working towards narrowing down the gender disparities in the education system.
This study has also helped create an environment of clear understanding of teenage pregnancies in schools, singling it out for clarity as one of the major causes as opposed to the many reasons that may cause school dropout. It has also given more weight on what has been ignored over time and in the process is expected to catch the attention of those concerned.
1.6. Scope of the study
The scope of this study is limited to Ondo West Local Government Area. To this end, interview and questionnaire will be used to collect information from the general public in determining the factors responsible for the increase in teenage pregnancy.
It was also focus on the implications of teenage pregnancy on the individuals involved and their academic performance as well as the society.
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