Secondary school teachers' experiences with learner teenage pregnancies and unexpected deliveries at school
Manyathi, Glory Duduzile
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The prevalence of learner teenage pregnancies is a winnable battle, provided the major stakeholders, namely the Departments of Education (DoE) and Health (DoH) provide joint positive efforts. The situation requires continuous effective support to the teachers that have to handle the situation of teenage pregnancies at secondary schools. In spite of the implementation of Life Orientation as a school subject, to deals with sexual behaviour, sexual health, decision making regarding sexuality, risk of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and Aids the prevalence of learner teenage pregnancies at secondary schools remains high. Health care professionals should become involved by promoting and implementing preventive measures to reduce the increase in learner teenage pregnancies in collaboration with the DoE. This will achieve a situation where there is assistance and support for vulnerable learners, and teachers that are daily exposed to learner pregnancies, as well as deliveries of babies on school premises. The intervention of health care professionals will provide quality care to learners and continuous support for teachers in all provinces, not only KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The objective of this study is to explore and describe the teachers‟ experiences regarding learner teenage pregnancies in KZN. The study is explorative, descriptive and contextual in nature. An interpretative approach was suitable to address the research aim of this qualitative research design, namely to answer the research question: “How do secondary school teachers experience teenage pregnancies and unexpected deliveries at school?” Participants were selected by purposeful sampling strategy. Data were collected through individual interviews and the data analysis followed Tesch‟s (1990) method of systematic open coding. During the data analysis themes were identified, including for instance the overall experiences with learner teenage pregnancies, experiences related to unexpected deliveries at school and recommendations to cope with teenage pregnancies and unexpected deliveries at school. The participants were all aware of the negative consequences of learner teenage pregnancies, which include leaving school, the resulting unemployability of learners who left school early and subsequent poverty and low social economic status. Recommendations aimed at stakeholders such as the DoE and Health centre on jointly supporting secondary school teachers with respect to their experiences with learner teenage pregnancies and unexpected deliveries at school. Health professionals are requested to implement campaigns and school visits to supply contraceptive services, whereas the DoE has to emphasise and ensure that teachers understand the importance of contemporary approaches when implementing the Life Orientation curriculum that explicity deals with sexuality, sexual behaviour, sexual health, decision making regarding sexuality, risk of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections including HIV and Aids.
- Health Sciences