Pregnant and abandoned: qualitative assessment of COVID-19 pandemic educational challenges faced by pregnant college students in Uganda

Case Studies & Research
p. 1-18
Periodical title
Gender and Education, 36, 1

Early marriage and pregnancy hinder global commitment to attain gender parity in education. This article discusses educational challenges experienced by parenting college students during the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda. The study qualitatively assessed the effects of COVID-19 on the National Teacher Colleges’ learning environment. On the reopening of schools after the lockdown, colleges were overwhelmed with an increased number of students who returned either pregnant or with young babies. Colleges were not prepared since pregnancy in college is prohibited through denial of on-campus accommodation and other services. Pregnant students were stigmatized, shunned and blamed for having engaged in immoral sexual behaviour and punished for their indiscretions. Pregnant and abandoned is structural gender-based violence that manifests in the physical, emotional, economic and social violence faced by pregnancy and parenting students, the young mothers are abandoned by their families and partners, and are denied child support and other student services. Future studies need to investigate the effects of such tormenting experiences of being abandoned on the academic performance and future parenting decisions of such girls.

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