The relationship between school trajectory and incidences of youth childbearing: a longitudinal analysis of the National Income Dynamics Study data of 2008 and 2012.
Leseba, Nthatisi Merylin.
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Youth childbearing is one of the public health and developmental problems globally with numbers ranging from 14 to 16 million. There has been a traceable decline in the incidences of youth childbearing in most parts of the world. In South Africa, youth childbearing has not declined for some selected population groups: Coloreds and Africans. The differentials of youth childbearing are also still observed in some geographic locations. To address this developmental problem, resolutions have been made and implemented for some decades now. These resolutions emphasis was to ensure formal education to young girls. Educating young females comes as a protective factor to early childbearing, repeated cycle of poverty and helped in the economic and political development of the country. However, the educational system in South Africa is reported to serve two sub-educational systems, namely: the first sub-system that serves the upper-income quintile of the country and the second sub-system that serves the lower income quintile. Collectively, this has led to a conclusion that, the South African educational system is characterized by a late entry, high-grade retention, and high drop-out rates. This study is a longitudinal study using three waves (2008, 2010 and 2012) from the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS). The analysis was done on a sample of 956 female youth that reported neither a pregnancy nor childbearing in 2008. Over the three years, 261 youth were lost to attrition. To infer and reduce bias in the results, weights were used for the analysis. The analysis uses descriptive analysis both at a cross-sectional and cohort level analysis. To identify possible determinants on incidences of youth childbearing in South Africa, a cohort level multivariate analysis was done. The results show that population group, parental residential status and having repeated a grade between 2008 and 2012 were determinants of incidences of youth childbearing in 2012. In conclusion, having repeated a grade is indeed a major determinant of youth childbearing in South Africa. In recommendations, the educational system should put in place a student support services to help students deal with personal and academic challenges they face.