School’s hard work for underage moms

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School’s hard work for underage moms

Single 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 [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article

중·고생 미혼모 85%가 학업 중단

10명 중 6명꼴 공부 열망하는데 학교는 절반 넘게 자퇴·휴학 권유

올해 만 18세인 이영미(가명)양은 또래들이 수능 준비에 한창인 요즘 조용히 출산을 준비하고 있다. 이양은 고2 때이던 지난해 친구들과 함께 남자 선배들과 어울리다 집단 성폭행을 당했다. 부모님을 여의고 큰아버지 집에서 생활하던 이양은 7개월이 지나서야 임신 사실을 알았다. 눈에 띌 정도로 배가 불러오자 하는 수 없이 학교를 그만뒀다. 물론 학교에는 임신 사실을 알리지 않았다. 미혼모 지원시설에서 생활하고 있는 이양은 출산 뒤 다시 공부를 할 계획이다. 그는 “사회적으로 무시당하지 않으려면 최소한 고등학교는 졸업해야 할 것 같다”며 “무슨 일이 있어도 공부는 계속할 것”이라고 말했다.

10대 미혼모의 대부분이 학업을 중단한 상태인 것으로 나타났다. 교육과학기술부가 3일 밝힌 ‘학생 미혼모 실태조사’에 따르면 10대 미혼모 중 84.9%가 중퇴, 휴학 등으로 학업을 중단했다. 이번 조사는 전국 35개 미혼모 시설에서 생활하는 학생 미혼모 73명을 대상으로 했다. 이에 따르면 임신 을 학교에서 알았을 때 ‘학교가 출산 후 복학을 권유했다’는 응답이 31.8%로 가장 많았고, ‘자퇴 권유’ 13.6%, ‘휴학 권유’ 9.1% 등 순이었다.

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