Learner pregnancy in South Africa’s Eastern Cape: the factors affecting adolescent girls' school withdrawal during pregnancy

Author(s): Jochim, Janina; Cluver, Lucie D.; Meinck, Franziska

Date: 2021

Pages: p. 1-10


An early pregnancy often puts an end to a girls’ education. However, few studies have investigated which factors affect adolescents’ school discontinuation during pregnancy. This study interviewed 1,046 adolescent mothers from the Eastern Cape province in South Africa. The results showed that a quarter of school-going adolescent girls withdrew from school during the pregnancy - many as early as the first trimester. School withdrawal was associated with higher poverty, higher grade repetition, an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy, and greater lack of information about the pregnancy. Given the high enrolment rates at the onset of the pregnancy, school-based services may provide an opportunity to identify which girls require substantial support to remain in education throughout pregnancy, using a history of poor school performance as an indicator for dropout.

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