Perceptions of educators towards teenage pregnancy in selected schools in uMkhanyakude District: implications for action.
Ndlovu, Thandiwe Sylvia.
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Teenage pregnancy is a cause for concern for educators in all South African schools. The Education Management Information System (EMIS) reported 51 pregnancies out of 1000 female learners between the 2004 and 2008 school calendars. Teenage pregnancy creates a serious problem to educators who are not trained to deal with the behaviours of pregnant learners in schools. The aim of this study was to examine the educators’ perceptions towards teenage pregnancy in selected schools around UMhlabuyalingana schools in UMkhanyakude District. In addition, the study sought to establish whether educators’ perceptions on teenage pregnancy have a direct impact on their behaviour and performance standards. Data was collected using in-depth interviews to allow the researcher to ask questions and to explore the perceptions of educators on teenage pregnancy. Data was then analysed using thematic analysis from that which emerged from the study. The study revealed that most educators have negative perceptions on teenage pregnancy in schools. Data revealed that educators are not properly trained to deal with pregnant learners. The study also revealed that teenage pregnancy has an impact on the performance standards of educators in schools. The performance of educators is affected because it becomes difficult to deal with pregnant learners, i.e. giving them individual attention. Data further reveals that peer pressure is the main driving factor that contributes to teenage pregnancy. These findings affirm that teenage pregnancy is a serious issue that needs the attention of various stakeholders in the community at large. In a schooling context, teenage pregnancy is a cause for concern for educators who are not trained to deal with changing behaviours of pregnant teenagers at school. The study recommended that life skills programmes should be improved in schools to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy. Moreover, more focus should be placed on sexual education in schools.