Vol. 5, Issue 3 (2019)
Perceptions of teachers, parents and female pupils towards the school re-entry policy. A case of selected secondary schools in Kabwe District, Zambia
Author(s): Bwalya Chewe, Maurice Moono, Geofrey Makwelele
Abstract: The importance of girl’s education in any given economy cannot be over emphasised therefore, it is imperative that all girls who start grade one must be kept in school through to completion. It is for this reason the Zambian government introduced the school re-entry policy in 1997 in the education system so that the pregnant teenagers can be allowed back to complete their education. This study explored the perceptions and knowledge base of some stakeholders on the school re-entry policy in selected secondary schools in Kabwe district. A descriptive survey design was employed with the study sample of 156 broken down as follows: 91 girls drawn from 5 secondary schools, 45 teachers and 20 parents. Statistical package for social sciences was used to analyse quantitative data while qualitative data was analysed thematically. Generally, the study revealed that the knowledge levels of the secondary school girls, teachers and parents of the re-entry policy are quite low. This is so because, despite most respondents agreeing that they were aware of the presence of the policy, further interviews showed that they could not spell out the exact guidelines of the policy and what prompted its introduction. The re-entry policy in Zambia has been in place for almost a decade, yet some stakeholders feel that it promotes promiscuity among pupils. A good number of teachers, about 58% indicated that there has been an increase in the number of pregnancies among school girls ever since the re-entry policy was introduced. The teachers may not show the exact statistics of this alleged increase however, what came out was an assumption that many girls are taking advantage of the policy owing to its present form which is seen as promoting promiscuity among pupils. With regards to the parents’ perceptions towards the policy, the study shows that out of the 20 respondents, only 2 had positive sentiments about it. The rest expressed fear that the presence of this policy has made children not to care about their morals, in fact some of them were calling for the removal of this policy. The majority of the girls do appreciate the presence of the policy however, they feel that in its present form, most school girls are abusing a good policy. The study further reveals that all the stakeholders involved in the study feel that the majority of the school girls are engaging in sexual activities both within and outside school which is leading to an increase in pregnancy rates. Some of them attributed this kind of behaviour to the presence of the re-entry policy. we recommend that the school re-entry policy be revised where all the stakeholders will be involved to agree.