Photo: Teen Pregnancies in Latin America
It is common to blame pregnancies for school desertions. However, a new study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) suggests that some adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean are looking to get pregnant to skip school because they don’t perceive that completion of their education will contribute to an improved life outcome.
Contradicting conventional wisdom, the study “Educational Failure: Pregnancies to Skip School” has found that low quality education system, in addition to a lack of educational and emotional stimuli to continue studying, have made pregnancy a deliberate choice for some young women. Accidental pregnancies are not the main cause of school desertions.
The aim of the study, carried out in Peru and Paraguay, was to interpret quantitative data that shows that adolescent mothers have less education than other women, and that the relationship between teenage pregnancy and levels of education appears to be stronger in Latin America than in other parts of the world.
This is the first time a study has sought to understand the causes behind school desertion among Latin American teens who become pregnant, based on interviews with the teens themselves.
According to the report, in many cases pregnancies are actually sought rather than actively prevented. Students who are performing poorly in school find pregnancy to be a good excuse to quitschool.