This study aims at investigating the managerial imperatives of teen motherhood in
public secondary schools in the Mamaila circuit, Limpopo province. The focus is on the
managerial imperatives of teen mothers that principal must fulfil; the experiences of
principals that have teen mothers in their school; the ability of the principals to fulfil
these managerial imperatives; and the kinds of support principals give teen mothers.
The study was informed by the legal framework entrenched in Chapter 2 (Bill of Rights)
of the Constitution of South Africa, especially such concepts as equality, human dignity, security, the interest of the child, the right to basic education and the safety of learners.
In South Africa it is illegal to expel pregnant girls in terms of the Constitution of the
Republic of South Africa (hereafter Constitution) (RSA, 1996a). Schoolgirls who become
pregnant are allowed to return to school after giving birth (Kaufman, De Wet and
Stadler, 2001:147). The learner pregnancy policy (DoBE, 2007) puts obligations to
principals to deal with each case confidentially (i.e. to respect the human dignity of the
learner); to support the learner by encouraging her to continue with education prior to
and after the delivery of the baby; to put in place appropriate mechanisms to deal with
unfair discrimination, hate speech or harassment that may arise.
The findings have revealed that most of the principals are not aware of the departmental
policy on learner pregnancy, but they acknowledge that it is unconstitutional to expel a
pregnant learner. Principals find it difficult to liaise with learners who are on maternity
leave in terms of giving them school tasks as advocated by the learner pregnant policy
(DoBE, 2007). Learners who are entitled to receive a child-support grant disrupt school
on the social grant payday by queuing for permission to go to local pay points.
Principals also experience late-coming and absenteeism from teen mothers due to a
lack of reliable people to care for their babies during the school day. The performance of
teen mothers deteriorates due to the household chores of taking care of the baby and
having no time to attend extralessons or afternoon study sessions at school.
The study has also revealed that principals engage the local clinics officials to present
pregnancy awareness with the learners as a way of educating them.