n Gender and Behaviour - Loss of learning space within a legally inclusive education system : institutional responsiveness to mainstreaming of pregnant learners in formal education




This study investigated how education stakeholders in South Africa and Zimbabwe responded to the policy of mainstreaming pregnant learners in formal schools. The study sample consisted of pregnant and former pregnant learners, mainstream learners, parents, teachers and community representatives on school governing boards. The major findings were that: sociocultural beliefs of the community on pregnancy were more influential to educational access and participation of pregnant teenagers than the official school policy; stakeholders at both schools were found to have inadequate knowledge and political will to assist pregnant learners; and the South African school provided a more open response to teenage pregnancy, in contrast to concealment at the Zimbabwean school. The paper posits that the policy on mainstreaming pregnant teenagers in formal schools is largely a form of political symbolism. An all-inclusive approach to policy formulation and implementation is recommended as an intervention strategy to the problem.


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