Changing Policy and Practice
Professor Lucie Cluver, Chelsea Coakley, Dr Janina Jochim, Dr Jane Kelly and Professor Elona Toska will carry out dissemination activities which will inform a training toolkit that improves health outcomes amongst pregnant and parenting adolescent learners in South African schools.
Adolescent pregnancy and parenthood interfere with schooling and health for individuals across the world, but it can be particularly challenging for parents in sub-Saharan Africa.
A research team from the University of Cape Town and University of Oxford (Professor Lucie Cluver, Chelsea Coakley, Dr Janina Jochim, Dr Jane Kelly and Professor Elona Toska), studied over 1,000 adolescent mothers living in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and identified educational, socioeconomic, and service markers of school dropout.
They found that adolescent mothers were more likely to drop out of school early if they performed poorly in school prior to pregnancy, left school during pregnancy, lacked access to childcare support, had poor relationships with their caregiver, or were affected by food insecurity or long distance to school.
South Africa’s Department of Basic Education (DBE) has a new policy on ‘Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancy in Schools’, which recognises schooling as a determinant of health, and assigns School-Based Support Teams (SBSTs) responsibility for managing care and support responses for learner pregnancies.
Using this funding, the team will share recommendations and a training toolkit with South Africa’s DBE, and they will improve school healthcare and support services for pregnant and new mothers.