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THE EFFECT OF TEENAGE PREGNANCIES ON THE ACADEMIC PROGRESSION OF FEMALE STUDENTS
The general objective of this study is to determine The effect of teenage pregnancies on the academic progression of female students using selected secondary schools in Oye-Ekiti LGA of Ekiti State as case study. The study adopted a survey research design and with the aid of convenient sampling techniques, 147 participants who are Teachers and Students of four (4) secondary schools in Oye-Ekiti LGA was enrolled for the study. A well structured questionnaire was issued to the respondent of which a total of 141 responses were received and validated for the study.Data was analyzed in simple percentage using frequencies and table.Findings from the study revealed that there were Socio-cultural effects of teenage pregnancy which included lack of knowledge by the girls, Peer pressure and the influence of mass media and this had an effect on academic progression of the girls. More so, the study reveals that teenage pregnancy has the capacity to limit the academic progression of the female student and on the extreme lead her to dropping out of school. The study therefore recommends that That the home and school environments should be protective enough to shield the children from exposure to negative influences. Also that parents and teachers should be concerned about the well-being of the girl child through education about sex and sexuality and the danger inherent.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education is central to the development of young people as it prepares them for the world of work and life. As young people spend longer periods in education, as part of the natural course of development, sexual experimentation and maturity is increasingly coinciding with secondary schooling (Panday, Makiwane, Ranchod & Letsoalo, 2009:5).
For many teenagers it remains at the level of experimentation, and if sex occurs, indications are that some form of contraception is used when teenagers are still at school (Bhana, Morrell, Shefer & Ngabaza, 2010:873). However, for many schoolgirls it results in pregnancy, HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (Mwaba, 2000:32). Being a schoolgirl who is pregnant or a mother has implications for continued educational opportunities.
As ordained by God, one of the responsibilities of a women is procreation. Although before a woman can start procreating there are some condition she must meet. In African context, the act of procreation is a responsibility of grown up young adults who have been found to be physically, economically, emotionally, spiritually and at large psychologically matured; that is why marriage act is highly contracted and celebrated in our present societies. The observed situation prevalent in both developed and underdeveloped world is such that there are, however, girls as young as ten who are sexually active and occasionally become pregnant and give birth, such that girls of between thirteen and nineteen years are now getting pregnant at an alarming rate.
Surveys by investigators such as Briggs (2001), Onuzulike (2003) and others revealed that teenagers become sexually active at an early age with corresponding high fertility. This condition is widely referred to as teenage pregnancy .Teenage Pregnancy is defined as ‘a teenager or under-aged usually within ages of thirteen to nineteen years becoming pregnant’. The term in every day speech usually refers to women who have not reached legal adulthood who become pregnant, (Oguguo, 1995).
Teenage is often used interchangeably with adolescence. World Health Organization –WHO (1997) opined that, it is the period between 10 and 19 years when the secondary sex characteristics appear. Turner and Helms (1993) reported that the teen years fall between the ages of 13 and 19 years. The issue of pregnancies among teenage girls seems to be one of the social problems facing not only Nigeria, but also several other nations of the world.
According to Kinby (2001) victims of teenage pregnancy lacked information or probably were not adequately educated on safe-sex either by their parents, schools or development agencies that could have enabled them deal with friends who lure them into sex prematurely. He stressed further that children of single parents are more vulnerable to teenage pregnancy. In the same vein exposure to sexual content on television, sexuality in the media, pornographic and sex chart rooms by teenagers, could most likely tune them to engage in sexual activities (L’Engle et al., 2006; Park,2008). Acceptance of gift for sex and some adult deliberately taking advantage of poor teenagers, encouraging them into having sex were also noted as factors responsible for teenage pregnancy ( United Nation, 2001).
Yampolslaaya, Brown and Greenbaum (2002) posited that approximately 60% of adolescent motherslive in poverty at the time of the birth of their babies and “approximately 73% go on welfare within 5 years of giving birth”, its associated motherhood are characterized with shame, disgrace, and school dropout sometimes end up the individual’s dreams of achieving higher pursuits.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Teenage sexual activities in Nigeria also tend to be on the increase (Nwosu, 2005 ; Okafor,1997). A major consequence of these increase sexual activities among teenagers is out of wedlock pregnancies that may result in abortion, childbirth or even death. Pregnancy at whatever stage in life can be a life changing experience that cuts across boundaries of race, educational attainment and socio-economic status (Kost et al., 2010). Motherhood places demands on one's life which were hitherto non-existent prior to the birth of the woman. When a girl that should be in school becomes pregnant, her entire life could be completely altered as her hopes and aspirations could be shattered. Teenage parents according to Kost et al., (2010) are parents between the ages of 13 and 19 years. Maynard (1997) believe that teenage pregnancy is a delinquent behavior resulting from stress, dislike, malice, boredom and unhappiness experienced by a teenage girl within her home environment. Other predisposing factors include alcoholism, drug addiction, and sexual promiscuity.
Research shows that the teen years are the most stressful and confusing times of life (Deegan,1989; Duval, 1995; Kohlberg, 1981). During this period, teenagers are expected to acquire education and skills needed for the future. On the contrary, many teenage girls engage in premarital sex, which expose them to the risks of sexually transmitted infection ( STIs) and teenage pregnancies (Umeano, 2003). Pregnancy is usually welcome when it occurs at the appropriate time such as a mature age and in wedlock. On the contrary, it is most unwelcome when it occurs outside of wedlock or during the teen years, when the individual should be acquiring skills in formal or non-formal environments.
Numerous studies Audu(1997), Noble(1996), WHO(1997) and Onuzulike (2002) have indicated poverty, pornography, mass media and peer influence as some of the factors responsible for teenage pregnancy. All teenagers who engage in pre-marital sex are vulnerable to pregnancy.
The issue of teenage pregnancy is no longer a new thing in any society be it developed, developing or less developed nations. Various reasons has been adduced for its existence but the basic problem is the persistency and the geometric progression of its expansion despite all the efforts that has been madeby both government, schools, religious bodies and non-governmental agencies at resolving some identified factors leading to this cancerous or decadence in our societies.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to determine The effect of teenage pregnancies on the academic progression of female students, a case study of Oye-Ekiti LGA. The specific objectives are:
1. To ascertain if pregnant schoolgirls are able to cope with school’s academic demands.
2. To find out if teenage pregnancy affects the academic performance of pregnant schoolgirls.
3. To determine the relationship between teenage pregnancies and the rate of drop out among female students.