Pregnancy-related school dropout and prior school performance in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Case Studies & Research
Population Council
13 p.
Periodical title
Studies in Family Planning. Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Special issue based on a seminar of the International Union for the Scientific study of Population

This study is an article extracted from "Studies in family planning", special issue on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa, published in December 2008. This study uses data from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to examine the factors associated with schoolgirl pregnancy and subsequent educational pathways. The authors found prior schooling discontinuities - defined as instances of non-pregnancy-related grade repetition or temporary withdrawals from school - are strongly associated with a young woman's likelihood of later becoming pregnant while enrolled in school, dropping out of school if she becomes pregnant, and not returning to school following a pregnancy-related dropout. Young women who are the primary caregivers to their children are so significantly more likely to leave school than are those who have help with their childcare responsibilities. Given the increasing importance of female school participation in sub-Saharan Africa, programs must be designed to reach girls and their families early to increase incentives for ensuring their timely progression through school and to increase their access to reproductive health information and services.

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