The plight of teenage mothers upon returning to school after delivery in Tanzania: a case of Urban and West Districts in Zanzibar

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University of Dar es Salaam
Although much has been written about teenage pregnancy and motherhood including causes and effects on academic performance and development in general but there is dearth of literature showing challenges teenage mothers face upon returning to school in relation to performing their three triple roles as mothers, parents and students. Thus, in understanding the plight of teenage mothers who decide to return to school, the study examined four specific objectives namely to; examine first, the age and class teenage girls are most likely to become pregnant; second, duration taken to return to school after delivery and procedures followed; third, challenges most teenage mothers face upon returning to school delivery; and fourth, coping strategies used for overcoming challenges mentioned. Information and data presented in this dissertation were obtained from both secondary and primary sources. The former were obtained from a review of published and unpublished data available in the UDSM library and the internet whereas primary data were obtained using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The former involved the use of one to one interviews and FGD’s while the latter involved the administration of a structured questionnaires with selected respondents including school heads, teachers and teenage mothers from selected secondary schools, as well as officers from the MoEVT in Zanzibar. A total of one hundred and seven (107) respondents participated in the study including officers from the MoEVT, schools heads, teachers, teenage mothers and students. Overall, study findings reveal that first, most teenage girls in secondary schools are more likely to become pregnant at the age of fifteen to seventeen years, while at form three and form four respectively. Second, study findings reveal that most teenage mothers returned to school in a period of less than three months after delivery especially those who are married and had adequate support for taking care of their newborns. On the contrary, most teenage mothers including the unmarried and those with inadequate support and care for their babies take longer time and some few fail to resume studies. Further, study findings reveal that although there is a guideline with clear instructions on procedures and process for allowing teenage mothers to return to school after delivery but most people including teenage girls and their parents as well as teachers were not completely aware of this. Third, study findings reveal that all teenage mothers regardless of their age and marital status, experience both individual and institutional challenges upon returning to school but unmarried teenage mothers suffer more relative to those who are married. Fourth, study findings reveal that in coping with both individual challenges, most teenage mothers seek help from diverse sources such as Counselling and Guidance teachers available in their respective school, parents /guardians, close relatives, well as neighbours. The study concludes by recommending the need to mainstream gender in the policy, the introduction of an effective monitoring and evaluation system by the MoEVT in Zanzibar as well as instituting a clear implementation strategy that will ensure that most pregnant teenage girls are supported to return to school after delivery. The study proposes areas for further research in this thematic area.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF HQ759.4.T34S52)
teenage mothers, returning to school, after delivery, Urban, West Districts, Tanzania
Shayo, S.L. (2017) The plight of teenage mothers upon returning to school after delivery in Tanzania: a case of Urban and West Districts in Zanzibar. Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.