This research work is carried out to find out the causes of teenage pregnancy among secondary school students in Ovia North East local government area in Edo State. This work is divided into five chapters. According to the project, its first chapter deals with the purpose of the study, which to find out the problems teens are facing concerning the unwanted pregnancy and unwanted parenthood. To suggest ways of helping any youths facing the dilemma of unwanted parenthood as well as practical suggestions for adolescent in avoiding the pitfalls of being pregnant and becoming parent suddenly. Chapter two deals with literature review. Chapter three contains method and administration of questionnaires, which was collected and it was observed that most students drop out from secondary school is as a result of teenage pregnancy. Chapter four involves presentation of data and discussion. In the last chapter, chapter five deals with the summary, recommendations and conclusion researcher was able to find out that adolescent from neglected families or broken homes contributed to teenage pregnancy. It was also detected that lack of exposure, lack of family guidance and bad companies contributed a lot to teenage pregnancy. Based on the above findings, it was recommended that since the parent has a greater role to play in the life of adolescent, therefore, parents should maintain stable and positive relationship with their children. And also parents should encourage deep, religious spiritual affiliation and realistic academic expectations.
1.1 Background of the Study
One of the salient responsibilities of women is procreation as ordained by God. However, there are conditions to be met before a woman could start procreating. 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. 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.
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 mothers live 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.
Teenage pregnancy according to Williams (2010) is therefore a major concern to world communities with the United State being at the top with almost 1,000,000 teenage pregnancies each year. Teenage pregnancy has attracted a great deal of concern and attention from religious leaders, the general public, policymakers, and social scientists, particularly in the developed and less developed countries especially in Nigeria. The continuing apprehension about teenage pregnancy is based on the profound impact it can have on the lives of the girls and their children. Demographic studies continue to report that in developed countries such as the United States, Mexico, Canada, Austria, teenage pregnancy results in lower educational attainment, increased rates of poverty, and worse “life outcomes” for children of teenage mothers compared to children of young adult women (Yampolslaaya et al., 2002) . Most teenagers do not plan their first sexual experience; rather, it is something that just happens to them based on the influence by female counterparts. Nearly 10 percent of adolescent or teenage girls get pregnant each year. Studies have found that between 20-30 percent of pregnancies in teenagers are direct results of rape, while 60% of teenage mothers have unwanted sexual experiences preceding their pregnancies before 15 years when they were coerced by males who were at least six years older than them (Williams, 2010).
According to Molosiwa and Moswela (2012) female students’ pregnancy is an international crisis that affects the social economic welfare of countries, societies and families at large because it is one, if not the leading cause of school dropout for female students. In the United States of America 30% of all teen girls who drop out of school cite pregnancy as a key reason (Shuger, 2012) and fewer than 38% of the teen mothers ever earned their high school diploma (Van Pelt, 2012). Adolescent pregnancy trends in percentage terms are quite worrying in Sub Saharan Africa because of the health, social, economic and educational consequences. Niger is worst affected at 51%, Chad at 48%, Uganda at 33%, Tanzania at 28% and Kenya at 26% (Loaiza and Liang, 2013).
According to a study by willan in 2013 in South Africa, approximately 30% of teenage girls report of having been pregnant with a devastating impact on their secondary schooling. In Cameroon teenage pregnancy is responsible for 30% gender gap difference between boys and girls in secondary education (EloundouEnyegue, 2004), while in Kenya 14.8% of 15-19year olds were either pregnant or mothers [Kenya Demographic and Health Surveys (KDHS), 2008/2009), a cohort that should ideally be at secondary school level. Another study by the Kenya Human Rights Commission/Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance (KHRC/RHRA) in 2010, revealed that unwanted pregnancy and abortions were prevalent among school going youth, which implies that among factors contributing to gender disparity in school completion rates is teenage pregnancy which this study attempted to examine critically.
Research evidence from various studies across the globe in different fields highlights some of the factors behind teenage pregnancy as either individual, home, community or school associated (Panday, Makiwane Ranchold et al., 2009; Ramirez and Carpenter, 2008; Willan, 2013). Some individual behaviors of secondary school girls are responsible for pregnancy. These include early sexual involvement (Musonga, 2014) that results in multiple and concurrent partnerships (Muganda-Onyando and Omondi, 2008) with boys and men that may be transactional in nature due to poverty. Poverty at home affects individual attributes of some girls in that it may force girls‟ into survival sex for subsistence (FAWE Uganda, 2011); and for economic security girls can engage in multiple relations. Multiplicity of sexual relations reduces the chances that teenagers would use contraceptives to prevent pregnancies hence escalating the problem (Willan, 2013).
Issues emanating from the home environment that are relational in nature may also contribute to teenage pregnancy. Physical presence of parents in the home (Ngom, Magadi and Owuor (2003), close parental supervision and monitoring of adolescents (Makundi, 2010) and age appropriate communication delays sexual debut and diminishes negative peer pressure that could lead to unwanted early pregnancies (Panday, Makiwane Ranchold et al., 2009).
Within the school environment a number of factors expose young girls to pregnancy risks. According to Hallman and Grant (2006) poor school performance is a strong marker for pregnancy. Poor performance often leads to repetition, meaning that girls physically mature while still in school and experience a lot of peer pressure to have sex (Kirby, 2002). In addition poorly performing girls have low educational expectations, are not sure they will graduate and as such have little motivation to avoid pregnancy (Coles, 2005; Turner, 2004).
Lack of comprehensive information on sexuality either at school or at home makes teenagers to rely on peer misinformation and may therefore succumb to peer pressure to have sex that could lead to early pregnancies (Panday, Makiwane, Ranchold et al., 2009). Another school based factor that contributes to pregnancy related school dropout is sexual harassment perpetrated by boys and sometimes teachers, where girls are coerced into having sexual intercourse (Abuya, 2013; Sifuna and Chege, 2006).
Teenage pregnancies are also associated with lack of access to and inconsistent use of contraceptives (Willan, 2013). Among other barriers perceptions play a vital role in determining whether adolescents who are sexually active use contraceptives or not. Questions about the efficacy of contraceptives and the possible side effects discourage their use (Wood and Jewkes, 2006) and therefore heightening pregnancy risks.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
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 made by both government, schools, religious bodies and nongovernmental agencies at resolving some identified factors leading to this cancerous or decadence in our societies.
Unmitigated teenage pregnancy school dropout has enormous cost implications for the society at large in terms of the lost benefits that accrue from school completion. They include lower fertility, lower child and infant mortality that means improved family health, improved food security, decreased HIV/AIDS infection rates and women economic empowerment. Sustained access to basic education is critical in terms of long term productivity, reduction in intergenerational poverty transfer and women empowerment (Hunt, 2008). Increases in female’ secondary school enrolment increase their participation in the labour force and their contributions to household and national income (Murphy and Belmonte, 2009).
Despite education being a human right, girls continue to suffer the indignity of school interruption when they become pregnant (Muganda-Onyando and Omondi, 2008) and most never return to complete their education regardless of the re-entry policy (Omwancha, 2012). This brings to the fore the need to tackle pregnancy before it happens as opposed to exclusively relying on re-entry, a perspective that underpinned this particular study given the fact that teen parenthood makes it more difficult for them to complete education, career and other life goals(Shuger, 2012).
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study sought to know the causes of teenage pregnancy among female students and its effect on their academic performance. Specifically, the study sought to;
1. determine the impacts of teenage pregnancy on the academic performance and school completion rate of female students in Nigeria.
2. examine the factors that contribute to the increase rate of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria.
3. examine possible ways of resolving the problems of teenage pregnancy in the Nigerian society.
1.4 Research Questions
1. What are the impacts of teenage pregnancy on the academic performance and school completion rate of female students in Nigeria?
2. What are the factors that contribute to the increase rate of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria?
3. What are the ways of resolving the problems of teenage pregnancy in the Nigerian society?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho: Teenage pregnancy has no impact on the academic performance and school completion rate of female students in Nigeria
1.6 Significance of the Study
The significance of the study is to shade light in our current pregnancy policy and how to improve it and to ensure that regulations are forced at ground level for school girls who get pregnant to be re-integrated in the mainstream educational system. In most cases, schoolgirls who become pregnant in rural areas and towns have to either resort to unsafe abortions or they face official school expulsion due to pregnancy.
Those most likely to benefit from the findings of this study are the Ministry of Education and the school management, especially in the formulation and strengthening of policies that guard teenage pregnancies in schools and the possible re-admission of the affected female students back to school. This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the Study
This study is on the causes of teenage pregnancy among female students and its effect on their academic performance with a view of finding solutions to the problem.
Limitations of study
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Adoption: That act of process of adopting a child.
Abortion: A medical operation in which a baby’s development inside a woman is stopped so that it is not born alive.
Adolescent: A young person aged 10-19 years.
Curiosity: The desire of knowledge about something or to know about a lot of different things.
Ignorance: Lack of experience
Pregnancy: The condition of being pregnant or the period of time when a woman is pregnant.
Promiscuity: Having sex with a lot of people.
Peer pressure: A strong feeling that you must do the same things as other people of young age if you want them to like you.
Peer: some one of the same age group social class etc.
Sex education: Education in schools about the physical process and emotions involves in sex.
Teenage motherhood: Someone who give birth between the age of 13-19 or a girl who gives birth at her teenage.
Teenagers: Some one who is between 13-19 years old.
Teen: Pregnancy children between the ages of 13-19 that gets pregnant.
Pervert: A person with abnormal or acceptable sexual behaviour.
Staggering: Stocking or supervising that it is difficult to believe.
Dilemma: A situation in which a choice must be made between unwelcome alternatives.
Pornography: Indecent literatures films etc. that shows sexual activities.
Sex: An act of procreation in which males’ penis is inserted into female vagina.
Negligence: Lack of proper care or attention.
Chat room: A room or place where a group of people are having an informal conversation or talk.