School’s hard work for underage momsSingle teenage mothers in Korea have little chance at continuing their educations once they get pregnant, according to a recent government survey.
According to the survey of single, underage mothers by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 85 percent of the girls are drop-outs.
"Education for teenage, single mothers has become an issue of increasing importance because of changing attitudes toward sex in the country and the increasing numbers of single mothers," said a ministry official, who explained the ministry was drawing up a policy for such mothers.
Out of a total of 73 single teenage mothers living in 35 single-mother support facilities, 35 are high school drop-outs while 13 quit during middle school. The remaining 13 dropouts are on hiatus from their studies on the recommendation of their schools or teachers. The average age of the mothers was 16.
The Welfare and Gender Equality ministries have conducted surveys of unwed mothers, but this was the first for the Education Ministry. The National Human Rights Commission recently urged the ministry to come up with a policy for struggling "student single mothers."
Other results reflected the stigma of being an unwed teenage mother.
When surveyed, 13.6 percent of the girls said they were encouraged to drop out of school by their teachers, while 9.1 percent were told to take an indefinite hiatus from school.
However 31.8 percent of the girls said their teachers recommended they come back to school after giving birth.
More than 72 percent said they wanted to continue studying because graduating from high school would keep others from looking down on them.
Half of the girls said passing school qualification exams would be their best chance to complete their studies because they wouldn't have to attend school with other students.
The mothers were surveyed by a team from the Catholic University of Daegu this year, led by social welfare professor Je Seok-bong.
By Christine Kim [firstname.lastname@example.org]