The regulation of pregnancy in Mozambican schools: from policy, to practice, to identities

Francesca Salvi

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This article discusses how institutional practices reproduce and operationalize specific discourses of in-school pregnancy and motherhood in Mozambique. National Decree 39/GM/2003 indicates that girls should be transferred to night courses if pregnant, together with their partners, if also students. This paper considers the implementation of this policy by identifying key roles such as those of Physical Education teachers, in-school pregnancy committees and class representatives. Drawing on qualitative data from 12 focus groups and 63 individual interviews with adults and young people, I claim that school practices mostly rely on acts of policing the female body. The result is the reproduction of a specific institutional regime that defines pupils’ identities along gender and age, by means of their (hetero)sexuality and seniority. Subsequently, the national policy, which was introduced to retain girls within education, figures as exclusionary, as students who do not meet the identity regime identified above are excluded from education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-355
Number of pages19
JournalComparative Education Review
Issue number3
Early online date31 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Mozambique
  • teenage pregnancy
  • schooling
  • gender
  • policy
  • RCUK
  • ESRC
  • ES/I900934/1


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