Education sector response to early and unintended pregnancy: A review of country experiences in sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract

In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), early and unintended pregnancy leads to a colossal loss of educational opportunities for girls: A high proportion of pregnancies among adolescent girls aged 15-19 years in the region are unintended, and nearly all adolescent girls who have ever been pregnant are out of school in most SSA countries. Existing studies that show associations between early/unintended pregnancy and school dropout lead to critical questions about how the education sector is responding to the issue in SSA. Conducted from August 2014 to April 2015, this review was devoted to an examination of such responses across six countries, namely: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. It focuses on issues including: Education sector policies for pregnant students and adolescent mothers; Integration of pregnancy prevention into sexuality education curricula; The school environment as it pertains to pregnant students and adolescent mothers; and Education sector efforts to improve gender equality.

It is concluded that the existence of national policies and guidelines (whether in official or draft form) to promote education sector responses to early/unintended pregnancy demonstrates the commitment of countries to respond to this critical issue. However, countries in the East and Southern Africa region would benefit from intensive support to address the gaps identified. As many policies are still in draft form, the timing is opportune to provide such support, drawing on findings from this study.

Citation

Birungi, H.; Undie, C.C.; MacKenzie, I.; Katahoire, A.; Obare, F.; Machawira, P. Education sector response to early and unintended pregnancy: A review of country experiences in sub-Saharan Africa. (2015) 44 pp. [STEP UP and UNESCO Research Report]

Education sector response to early and unintended pregnancy: A review of country experiences in sub-Saharan Africa

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