Secondary schools’ preparedness to receive teenage mothers back to school following child birth in Ruhaama, Ntungamo district
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In this dissertation, I examine the secondary schools‟ preparedness to receive teenage mothers back following child birth in Ruhaama County, Ntungamo district. I studied Nyakyera secondary school, Kitwe secondary school, Rukoni secondary school and Ruhaama secondary school. The focus of the study was; to examine how schools have prepared the teachers and learners to receive teenage mothers back in school; assess the role of head teachers in complying with the school re-entry guidelines, and; explore the challenges faced by schools in preparation to receive teenage mothers in Ruhaama County, Ntungamo district. The study utilized a largely qualitative research approach. Data was collected from head teachers, teachers, current students and teenage mothers. I interviewed a total of 4 headteachers, 15 teachers, 4 students/learners in Nyakyera secondary school, Rukoni Secondary School, Ruhaama secondary school and Kitwe secondary school. I conducted in-depth interviews with the head teachers and teachers, Key Informant interviews with the headteachers and also reviewed relevant documents. The study adopted a case study design. The target population was 4 secondary schools, 4 head teachers, 15 teachers and 4 learners. Data collected were organized in thematic categories according to the study objectives and then analyzed thematically. During interviews, teachers and head teachers revealed that they allowed teenage mothers to rejoin at the level they left at, provide letters of transfer, support to teenage mothers such as providing counseling services, extra classes during weekends have been put in place by schools to ensure that teenage mothers get the best academic environment on their readmission to their respective schools. The study revealed that schools face some challenges such as high cost of maintaining teenage mothers at school, low parental involvement in the readmission of teenage mothers, lack of awareness of reentry guidelines by some schools and no child care facilities. In conclusion, interactions with school head teachers, teachers and teenage mothers suggest that despite several challenges of maintaining the welfare of these students in school, schools are ready to receive and maintain teenage mothers in school. Incidentally some of the challenges are largely specific issues such as high cost of maintaining teenage mothers at school, low parental involvement in the readmission of teenage mothers, lack of awareness of reentry guidelines by some schools and no child care facilities. Despite the general preparedness, it is important that to address some of the critical challenges, schools should strengthen the counselling program in the formal school system. The Ministry of Education should ensure that annual training in counselling skills is provided for all counselling staff in schools.
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