AN ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF UNWANTED PREGNACY ON SECONDARY SCHOOL FEMALE STUDENTS EDUCATION
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Background to 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 female student it results in unwanted pregnancy, HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (Mwaba, 2000:32).
Being a female student who is pregnant or a mother has implications for continued educational opportunities.
Nigeria is confronted with an escalating epidemic of female student pregnancies. Female students unwanted pregnancy has grown in significance as asocial construct and as such represents one of several indicators of burgeoning female student delinquency, sexual permissiveness and moral decay (Chigona and Chetty 2007).
Female student unwanted pregnancy as a socioeconomic challenge and an important health problem for many communities in Nigeria.
It is a reflection of irresponsible sexual behavior and inconsistent use of contraception.
According to Oni, Prinsloo, Nortje and Joubert (2005:55 Female student unwanted pregnancy may include health risks such as complications during pregnancy or delivery and secondary infertility if an abortion is done. In addition, the possibility of dropping out of school is considerable which results in a lack of educational qualifications and future employment.
Female student unwanted pregnancy is considered to be a disaster by most people.
Yet female student unwanted pregnancies are increasing in number each year and are occurring at younger ages.
Although this trend is noticeable all over the world, the problem is greater in developing countries such as Nigeria (Devenish, Funnell & Greathead, 2004:180).
The unwanted pregnancy rate amongst female student in Nigeria remains high by international comparison.
The rate of 13% in rural areas in Ilorin West L.G.A environment is twice the national average of 6.5%. Medical risks, disruption of education and long-lasting emotional problems are associated with female student pregnancy, the choice of what to do when the pregnancy is confirmed is too serious a matter for the level of maturity of most female students.
A pregnant female student often faces confusing advice from people regarding pregnancy, child-rearing and education and this can undermine her confidence in herself and her ability to cope.
In their research Karra and Lee (2012:15) found that most female students perceive falling pregnant while still at school as a negative event with consequences such as difficulty at school or drop out, unemployment, quilt feelings, alienation from family members and friends and loss of a boyfriend, Mazibuko (2002:2) points to the fact that a baby changes its mother’s life in many ways.
A pregnant female students has to consider her future and the things she may not be able to do once the child is born, (Hughes, 2002:23) Will she be able to finish her education and have a professional career?
Therefore, a pregnant female students needs to calculate the risks involved and determine whether she can take proper care of a baby and complete her education (Nash, 2002:151).
Statement of the Problem
In essence the problem that will be investigated in this study pertains to the effect that unwanted pregnancy has on the education of a female student in Ilorin West, Kwara State Nigeria.
Being a female student inevitably leads to schooling disruption or drop out, which means a life-world remarkably different from that of non-pregnant female student. Therefore, some of the questions that require answers are:
What are the reasons for female student unwanted pregnancy?
What is the effect of the unwanted pregnancy on the education of the female student?
What support is available for pregnant female student?
Many study have been carried out on effects of unwanted pregnancy on female students education in Nigeria.
Among the authors includes Burger, Gouws and Kruger (2011) who wrote on effect on unwanted pregnancy on female students education in Ilorin West L.G.A, Kwara State Also Newman (2008:4) carried out research on effect of unwanted pregnancy on female students education in Lokoja L.G.A, Kogi State.
To the best of the researcher knowledge no studies have been carried out on effects of unwanted.
In essence this statement of the problem investigated the reasons for female student pregnancy and the effect of pregnancy on the schoolgirl’s education. Despite the availability and variety of methods of contraception many adolescent female student become pregnant in Ilorin West L.G.A, Kwara. Nigeria.
The main reason why female student’ fall pregnant is having sex without any protection.
There are various reasons why adolescent female student do not use any method of contraception, namely, not expecting to have intercourse and did not prepare for it, they prefer not to use protection, lack of knowledge about contraception and reproductive health, no access to contraceptives, embarrassment to get contraceptives or fear that their parents will find out they are sexually active.
Becoming pregnant and being a female student mother poses risks for educational success.
This situation often disrupts or end schooling and the leap from school to tertiary education or employment.
Absenteeism, poor academic performance, repetition of grades and dropout are results of schoolgirl pregnancy with consequences like poor job opportunities, increased dependency and poverty
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the effect of unwanted pregnancy on female secondary school students in Ilorin West L.G.A. of Kwara State.
Specifically it found out:
i. what are the causes of unwanted pregnancy among the females students
ii. the effect of unwanted pregnancy on education of the female student
iii. the nature of the support available for a unwanted pregnant of female students.