Teenage mothers need support to resume school

A team of researchers from the University of Ghana have called for a congenial school environment that allows teenage mothers to resume schooling after child birth.

They said although Ghana’s education policy allows female students who get pregnant to resume schooling after child birth, the conditions, including stigmatisation and unavailability of counselling and child care facilities, makes the policy unproductive.

The study, titled “Early labour market transitions of women in low-income African countries,” was undertaken by Dr Louis Boakye-Yiadom, Dr Nkechi S. Owoo, Dr Monica Lambon-Quayefio, Dr Enestina K. Dankyi, and Mr Kwame Adjei-Mantey, all of the University of Ghana.

Among its objectives, the study was to generate evidence that shows the importance of education in securing favourable incomes for women.

A study revealed that a minimum of secondary school completion is required in facilitating favourable labour market outcomes for women.

Among others, the study found that early pregnancy, childbirth and/ or marriage greatly influences females’ school-to-work transition, showing that teenage girls who get pregnant or get married while in school mostly drop out of school, and start work at an early age since they do not return to school after birth.

Although they start work at an early age, such women do not benefit from good incomes and often do not rise in their chosen trades because of their low educational background.

Dr Lambon-Quayefio, in a presentation at a seminar at the University of Ghana to discuss the findings of the study, said the policy that allows teenage mothers to continue their education should be promoted and implemented effectively to create a congenial schooling environment for teenage mothers, so as to prevent them from dropping out of school.

She said although efforts should be made to curtail teenage pregnancies and early marriages, the school environment should be made more receptive and supportive for teenage mothers who return to school.

That, she said could involve the provision of childcare facilities attached to the schools to enable the mothers to leave their babies there and concentrate on their academic work.

Dr Louis Boakye-Yiadom, the lead researcher, for his part, noted the findings indicated that early labour market experiences of teenagers tend to have adverse effect on their transition and future participation in the labour market.

Among recommendations, he said the research work suggests the need for schooling and completion to be encouraged through a vigorous campaign.

In addition, Dr Owoo also stressed the need for existing social intervention policies and programmes that aim at promoting girl-child education and preventing early marriages, should be enhanced for the benefit of teenage girls.

The three-year study, which was undertaken in five other African countries, was based on assumption that the way in which young women transit from school to work greatly affects the quality of their economic lives.

Researchers in Kenya, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda, in collaboration with researchers from the United Kingdom, compared the experiences of young women and men with different socio-economic characteristics.

The research, supported under the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) programme, a five-year multi-funder partnership of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and IDRC, aimed at generating new knowledge that sheds light on specific limitations on women’s economic empowerment from an early age.

By Times Reporter


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