n Gender and Behaviour - The non-alignment of espoused theories of action to theories-in-use : sociocultural hurdles to provision of equitable educational opportunity for pregnant learners at South African conventional schools




On attainment of democracy, South Africa ratified several international conventions such as UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which all among other objectives, seek to attain gender equality in education. This study investigated how, despite their formal access to schooling, pregnant learners at two high schools in Vhembe district of South Africa faced challenges in actively participation in schooling. The study used key participant and focus group interviews to gather the views of 6 pregnant learners enrolled at two formal schools, 12 mainstream learners, and 12 teachers on the participation of pregnant learners in school curriculum activities. The study revealed that although the country's bill of rights and the education policy on the management of pregnancy in schools created prospects for equal educational provision for pregnant teenagers in South Africa, on the ground, there were conservative socio-cultural beliefs, values and norms that militated against pregnant teenagers' full educational participation and opportunity. The study therefore concluded that there is a split between official policy and practice, or espoused theories of action and the actual theories-in-use which negatively impacted on equal educational opportunity for enrolled pregnant learners in South African formal schools.


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