1.1 Background of the Research Problem
Early pregnancy is not a new problem in Tanzania and has often sparked national debate. A school girl makes an unwise decision. Or she is coerced into having sex against her will by means of physical force, economic pressure or peer pressure. She becomes pregnant. The father may be a school-boy, a teacher a “sugar daddy” or even a relative. What will this mean for her future?
On February, 10th 2011 during a National Assembly session, an official from the opposition party ‘Civic United Front’ (CUF), challenged the deputy minister of education hanourable Mwantumu Mahiza, to explain the measures taken by the government to reduce the number of girls falling pregnant at school. Mahiza said that his ministry is preparing new laws and policies to address the issue, adding that six percent (6%) of girls leave school each year due to pregnancy.(Tuesday,21 February 2011,The Citizen ).
According to ministry of education statistics, 28,600 girls left school between 2004 and 2008 because they were pregnant. At secondary level the figures are alarming, in 2007 one in five girls fell pregnant and did not finish school. For example, in the Shinyanga region (Western Tanzania), parents threaten to throw their daughters out of their homes if they attend high school.
In some remote areas of the country, children as young as eleven (11) years old are pregnant. Some blame the Marriage Act of 1971, which legalized marriage between a man and a 14- year-old-girl. For some parents the dowry they receive when marrying their daughter is a significant source of income.
For- instance, a total of forty one(41) female students in Longido District, primary and secondary schools have dropped out of school due to pregnancy. According to District Education Officer [DEO] for Longido District Council, Supeet Mseyu, the statistics are for 2007 up to 2009 period where 36 of the drop-out were secondary school students.
Makanya village is among the affected villages in Tanzania. This village situated in Kilimanjaro region, Same District Council. Its economics depends much on sisal plantation and extraction of gypsum minerals where at this point there was a kind of interaction with outsiders who come purposely for looking some job opportunities in sisal plantation and gypsum extraction.
The problem of teenage pregnancy among school girls is a major concern in many countries. This can also be traced to Congo, Namibia and Canada. For example, in Namibia school girls’ pregnancy has been cited as a constraint in the elimination of gender disparities in education and in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals [MDG] of universal primary education and gender equality in education by 2015.
Official statistics on pregnancy-related school drop-outs in Namibia for 2007 show that a total of 1465 learners dropped-out for this reason, pregnancy, with ninety six percent (96%) of them being girls. There are large regional disparities, with pregnancy related drop-outs being highest by far in Kavango and Ohangwena, followed by the regions of Omusati, Oshikoto, Oshana and Caprivi where information from other sources indicates that the official figures may be an underestimate. 1.2 Statement of the Problem
The problem of poor academic performance and school drop- out has been a great challenge in both primary and secondary schools at Makanya village. This makes the researcher to investigate on how school girls’ pregnancy contributes to the problem. When focusing on these schools, it is clear that the overall performance in Standard Seven National Examinations and Form Four National Examinations in primary and secondary schools in Makanya village is declining year after year .Girls are not well performing and this can be one among the factors that contribute to poor students’ academic performance. Therefore, the study will explain the factors for the school girls pregnancy and its effects...