TEENAGE OUT OF WEDLOCK PREGNANCY AND EDUCATIONAL PURSUIT AMONG YOUTHS IN BARIGA LGA
Background to The Study
The issue of pregnancies among unmarried
teenage girls seems to be one of the social problems facing not only
Nigeria, but also several other nations of the world. Surveys by
researchers such as Briggs (2001), Gyepi-Garbrah (1985), Onuzulike
(2003) and others revealed that teenagers become sexually active at an
early age with corresponding high fertility. Teenage sexual activities
in Nigeria also tend to be on the increase (Nwosu, 2005, Okafor, 1997). A
major consequence of these increase sexual activities among teenagers
is out of wedlock pregnancies that may result in abortion, childbirth or
Teenage is often used interchangeably
with adolescence. World Health Organization – WHO (1997) opined that, it
is the period between 10 and 19 years when the secondary sex
characteristics appear. Turner and Helms (1993) reported that the teen
years fall between the ages of 13 and 19 years. Views and opinions vary
among authors and researchers on the specific age at which it begins or
ends. Adesomowo (1988) reported that the teen years starts at either 11
or 12 years and lasts to 19 years when the character of a person takes
the permanent form. According to Nwosu (2005), adolescents include all
persons aged 13 to 19 years who constitute about 20 per cent of the
world population. Ezeorah (1982), Melgosa (2001), and a host of others
agree that the teen years span from the 13th to the 19th years of life.
Bongaart and Cohen (1998) described the
teen years as a period of transition from childhood to adulthood,
characterized by heightened social awareness and accelerated physical
growth. This period, they opined, marks the onset of puberty and
biological maturity. It is a crucial period in the life of an individual
because many key social, economic and demographic events occur that set
the stage for adult life. Ukekwe (2001) described it as the most
important period in human life, which if not properly handled, could
lead to the most disastrous consequences in later life, especially among
Notwithstanding the varied opinions on
the beginning and the end of the teen years, studies by numerous authors
and researchers, as mentioned earlier indicated that the teen years
span from the 13th to the 19th year of life. Based
on the opinion of researchers on the specific age at which teenage
begins, the present study will be based on the age limit of 13 to 19
years. Ukekwe (2001) held that teenagers are expected to grow up
morally, and gradually observing the norms of the society into
adulthood. On the contrary, some of these teenagers engage in premarital
sexual activities, which expose them to the risks of abortions,
sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancies which has been
proven to invariably lead to poor academic outcomes.
Pregnancy as defined by Gordon(1983) is a
condition in which a female carries in her womb, the young before it is
born. Similarly, Skyes (2000) defined pregnancy as the condition of
carrying a developing offering in the uterus. A look at the two
definitions of pregnancy above could reveal that pregnancy is meant for
procreation and continuity. Hence, it is difficult for a teenage girl
with pregnancy to undertake any academic pursuit.
Nwosu (2005) is of the opinion that when
pregnancy occurs at the appropriate time and in wedlock, it is a
welcome development, but if a teenager engages in premarital sex that
may result in pregnancy, she is putting herself in a responsibility that
she is inadequately prepared for. Teenage pregnancy therefore means
conception by girls between the ages of 13 and 19 years. According to
Allan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) (1988), teenage pregnancy is an
undesirable phenomenon. Onuzulike (2003) supported this when she
observed that teenage pregnancy interferes with expectation regarding
education, self-realization and economic prosperity among the affected
teenagers. Ukekwe (2001) stated that stress arises even when pregnancies
are planned, and to think of unplanned pregnancy means that the girl
has to restructure her roles because she is inadequately prepared for
parenthood. Fadeyi (1978) observed that numerous cases of school
dropout; maternal mortality and morbidity, infertility, abortion and
children being abandoned in gutters, dustbins, latrines and other deadly
places are clear manifestations of the malady of teenage pregnancies.
Teenage out-of-wedlock pregnancy has
vital implication for population growth. Nwosu (2005) opined that there
is a global increase in teenage pregnancies. She observed that more than
14 million adolescents give birth each year thus contributing roughly
10 percent of the world’s total number of births. Ukekwe (2001) noted
that many of these babies are unwanted by their teen mothers. These
babies, she maintained suffer from starvation, sicknesses, homelessness
and abandonment among other complications. Briggs (2001) identified
several complications associated with teenage pregnancy. These include;
high blood pressure, preeclampsia, eclampsia, malnutrition, vesico
vaginal fistula, recto vaginal fistula and death. He observed that when
high blood pressure is accompanied by proteinuria, the teenager’s
condition can worsen to eclampsia, which if not controlled could
progress to extreme hypertension, seizures, convulsion and cerebral
Besides the health consequence of
teenage pregnancy, the educational pursuit/attainment of most, if not
all teenage parents is hampered. Gorgen, Maier and Diesfield (1993)
observed that students who become pregnant rarely go back to school.
Stevens-Simon and McAnarmey (1993) noted that teenage pregnancy is a
marker for socio-demographic factors such as poverty and poor education.
Brown (2001) collaborated this when he posited that many of the
teenagers end up as school dropouts. Action Health Incorporated (2004)
also described teenage pregnancy as a major cause of school dropout
among girls. They maintained that the pattern of pregnancies among young
unmarried adolescents has assumed an alarming proportion, which if
unchecked could result in undesirable consequences. According to Osuala
(2003) the patterns of teenage pregnancy and its complications need to
be addressed in order to avert the perpetuation of poverty and unskilled
women in the economy die to poor academic achievements.
Onuzulike (2003) outlined several
predictors of out-of-wedlock pregnancy during the teen years. These
include; a history of sexual abuse, poverty, lack of interest in school
activities, lack of career goals, poor school performance, unhappy homes
and peer pressure among others. Audu (1997) also outlined several
factors associated with teen pregnancy. These factors include; moral
laxity, desire for wealth and materialism, unrealistic false marriage
promises as well as the influx of pornography. Okafor (1997) reported
ignorance of sexual knowledge as one of the factors responsible for
pregnancies among teenagers. He added that adolescents in secondary
schools have low knowledge regarding sex and sexuality.
Bariga where this study is conducted is a
district and suburb in Somolu local government area of Lagos State.
Headquartered in Gbagada, it is known to be the location of the oldest
secondary school in Nigeria. The Bariga Area of Lagos is a known den of
thugs, cultists, armed robbers and gangasterism. However, this study
will examine the relationship between out-of-wedlock pregnancy and
educational pursuit among youths in Bariga.
Statement of the Problem
Research shows that the teen years are
the most stressful and confusing times of life. During this period,
teenagers are expected to acquire education and skills needed for the
future. On the contrary, many teenage girls engage in premarital sex,
which expose them to the risks of STIs, poor academic performances and
teenage pregnancies (Umeano, 2003). All teenagers who engage in
pre-marital sex are vulnerable to pregnancy. Nwosu (2005) opined that
over the last decade, teen pregnancy has been on the increase, with many
of the girls abandoning their babies after birth. Many teenage parents
do not go back in pursuit of their educational dreams. Many studies has
been conducted in advanced countries on this subject area. Many of these
studies though were conducted outside Bariga in particular, no evidence
of what the situation looks like has been shown in the area under
study. The pattern could be worse than what has been reported in other
parts of the world. The need for a study of this nature in Bariga cannot
Objectives of the Study
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the relationship between out-of-wedlock pregnancy and educational pursuit among youths in Bariga.
- To examine the pattern of teenage out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Bariga.
- To examine the causes of teenage out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Bariga.
- To determine the solution to the problem of teenage out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Bariga.
- What is the relationship between out-of-wedlock pregnancy and educational pursuit among youths in Bariga?
- What is the pattern of teenage out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Bariga?
- What are the causes of teenage out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Bariga?
- What is the solution to the problem of teenage out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Bariga?
HO: There is no significant relationship between out-of-wedlock pregnancy and educational pursuit among youths in Bariga
HA: There is significant relationship between out-of-wedlock pregnancy and educational pursuit among youths in Bariga
Significance of the Study
The following are the significance of this study:
- The results from this study will educate the policy makers in
education and the general public including the teenagers on the
relationship between out-of-wedlock pregnancy and educational pursuit
among youths. The outcome will also enlighten on the pattern of
out-of-wedlock teenage pregnancies, the causes and the solution to the
menace with a view to securing the future of youths towards academic
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars
and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this
field subsequently, if applied, it will go to an extent to provide new
explanation to the topic.
Scope/Limitations of the Study
This study is limited to teenagers
between the ages of 13 and 19 years found within and outside secondary
schools in the Bariga LGA and they will be selected for the study.