The education of girls is hampered by many challenges among them teenage pregnancy. The Zambian government introduced the re-entry policy in 1997 to allow girls that get pregnant to return to school and complete their education. Even after the policy was introduced, many girls that get pregnant fail to return after their maternity leave. Therefore, this study investigated how the re-entry policy is implemented in Zambian secondary schools in Monze District using a qualitative-interpretivist-case approach. Hence data was collected using semi-structured interviews, field notes and document analysis to understand the implementation process through the eyes of the purposively selected Ministry of Education (MOE) officials, head teachers, teachers, teenage mothers, learners and parents. The collected data was coded sing a computer software Nvivo and analysed using thematic analysis. The research findings show the nature of current school re-entry policy implementation, opportunities through the re-entry policy, Weaknesses of the re-entry policy, challenges faced by teenage mothers and the existing support systems in place for teenage mothers. A framework for the effective implementation of the re-entry policy in schools was designed.
The study findings on re-entry policy implementation for teenage mothers concluded that, more remains to be done in terms of its implementation by various stakeholders. The re-entry policy is not well implemented as there are no re-entry policy guidelines in schools, lack of clarity on the guidelines compelling stakeholders to implement it their own way. Nonetheless, the findings show that the re-entry policy had notable achievements such as the re-admission and completion of teenage mothers’ education, awareness of the re-entry policy, strengthening of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in schools and collaborations between schools and civil society organisations (CSOs) and other government departments. The recommendations include: Government to ensure that the development of policies and implementation is inclusive and sustainable. School implementers should be given orientation on the implementation of re-entry policy; strengthening the re-entry policy and other supporting policies and laws that can promote gender equality and inclusion to enhance educational opportunities; CSOs, department of social welfare ties and parental and pupil support should continue collaborating to promote the education of the vulnerable that include teenage mothers.