Statement of the Research Problem
Teenage pregnancy continues to receive attention because of the early age at which adolescents engage in sexual activity and the result which is an unplanned and unintended pregnancy. In Trinidad and Tobago teenage pregnancy accounted for 15% of all births in 2003. Teenage pregnancy refers to the pregnancy of young immature girls of secondary school age usually ranging from thirteen (13) to nineteen (19) years of age.
The social implications of teenage pregnancy are serious. In Trinidad and Tobago secondary schools do not allow pregnant teens to remain enrolled in school. This premature drop out from school represents significant losses of human resource as the opportunity for socio-economic mobility of these girls is now greatly reduced. Teenage pregnancy is also associated with social consequences like rejection, public shame on the pregnant teen who feels like an outcast and also on the family.
Teenage pregnancy places an economic burden on the parents of the affected teen and on society. Since teenage mothers are not able to complete their secondary school education they are thus less likely to be employed and therefore are unable to support their child/children. Therefore most of these teenage mothers are more likely to live in poverty and receive public assistance from the state with long periods of welfare dependency. In this regard teenage pregnancy is seen as both a social and economic problem.
The frequency of teenage pregnancy in Trinidad and Tobago has become a public concern that has serious social and economic consequences for the affected teens, families, friends, the state and the wider society. This is the reason why this research has been undertaken. The research aims to examine the socio-economic effects of teenage pregnancy on girls in secondary schools in rural Trinidad and Tobago. It is hoped that the findings of this research will...