Democratisation of formal schooling for pregnant teenagers in South Africa and Zimbabwe : smoke and mirrors in policy

19 Jan 2015

Policies that provide for equitable access to formal education by girls who could fall pregnant while in school are now common in Africa. However, the benefits of such policies to the affected girls vary from country to country. This paper critiques postcolonial legislative and policy frameworks that aim to open educational opportunities to pregnant teenagers in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Benchmarking with international conventions such as CEDAW, CRC, EFA and MDG, the paper analyses South Africa and Zimbabwe’s postcolonial legislations and policies that affect the educational access, participation and outcomes of pregnant and parenting girls of school going age. The paper posits that although the observed policy institutionalisation in both countries is an important measure in democratising formal schooling for girls who could fall pregnant while at school, that alone is inadequate without strategies aimed at confronting the negative traditional, social and cultural variables that militate against pregnant girls who choose to pursue their educational aspirations through the formal school system.