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FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE TRUANCY IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 Background to the Study
Truancy among students has become a growing problem. It is the act of deliberately missing one or more classes. Globally, truancy has been regarded as a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of the educational programmes and has caused a lot of setbacks for secondary school students in their educational pursuits (Stoll, 1993; Gesinde, 2004; Adeyemi, 2006; Animasahun, 2007b). It leads to potential delinquent activity, social isolation, or educational failure via suspension, expulsion, or dropping out (Huizinga, Loeber, Thornberry & Cothern, 2000; Huizinga, Loeber & Thornberry, 1994; Morris, Ehren & Lenz, 1991). Truancy is any intentional unauthorized or illegal absence from compulsory schooling. It may also refer to students who attend school but do not go to classes. Truancy is non-school attendance behaviour. It is an irregular attendance of school. Truancy is a delinquent and antisocial behaviour (Animasahun, 2009). Animasahun (2007a) suggested truancy to be an act of staying off school, which is one of the several kinds of antisocial behaviours. Truancy has been conceptualized as unjustified intentional absence from school (Petegem, 1994). Fogelman and Hibbett (1995) opined that any absence from school without an acceptable reason is truancy.
Causes and levels of the contributing factors of truancy are numerous and diverse. Truancy results from several factors. Truancy is a four-fold problem which stems from the student, student’s family background, the school and the community. Rohrman (1993) and Kinder, Harland, Wilkin & Wakefield (1995) submitted that child (personality), family, school and community are the causes of truancy. In the same vein, Osarenren (1996) see the home, school environment, peer group culture and society as causes of truancy among students.
In the secondary schools, truants can be labelled as poverty prone and at-risk students who are faced with a number of educational challenges which require the building of counsellors‟ professional capacity to prevent its negative consequences to students and learning. Usually students have high rates of absenteeism, poor academic performance, adjustment problems, lack of interest in schools and poor attitude to school work and learning. Such students need the assistance of professional counsellors so as to cope with the academic and social problems and challenges associated with schooling. The persistence and growing phenomenon of truancy among secondary school students suggest the need to build the professional capacity of school counsellors so as to mitigate the negative effects of truancy among secondary school students. The magnitude or prevalence of truancy remains a factor yet to be thoroughly examined among secondary school students. Related to the prevalence of truancy are factors suspected to predispose students to truancy. Previous studies (Gesinde, 2005; Okwakpam, 2012; Igwe, 2013) have investigated the causes of truancy vis-a- vis student academic performance. Such studies left unanswered the vital questions about the prevalence of truancy and factors which predispose students to truancy. Answers to these questions are pertinent to understanding truancy and improving school facilities and guidance and counselling services to eliminate truancy among school students. Truancy predisposes students to dropping out of school as students often demonstrate a pattern of increase absence from school over a period of time (Epstein & Scheldon, 2002). Nwana (2004) explained that truancy is an act of intentionally absenting of oneself from school without permission, leaving without authorization and dodging of specific classes. It has been reported that many factors are suspected to facilitate truancy among students. Among such factors are; lack of qualified teachers, lack of teaching and learning materials, lack of dedication on the part of teachers home factor (marital adjustment and broken homes, lack of affection, disability of parents). It was established that to understand the problem of truancy it is essential to understand the causes, these causes were grouped into four categories such as student demographics, family characteristics, student‟s personal and psychological factors and school climate.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Truancy is commonly observed among the students especially the students of government schools at primary, secondary and higher secondary levels which has adopted an alarming situation. Indeed, truancy is a great problem for stakeholders and parents as truant students create problems for parents, schools and society. Continuous absenteeism from school lead to serious undesirable consequences both for children exhibiting truancy and for communities which causes deformation in the society.
Truancy lead to negative consequences like potential criminal activities, social segregation, or academic failure through suspension, dismissal, or dropping out. Truancy obstructs effective learning and causes poor academic achievement of truant children, continuous absenteeism from school lead to serious undesirable consequences both for children exhibiting truancy and for communities which causes deformation in the society. Similarly, Mac Gillivary & Mann-Erickson, (2006) found that children exhibiting truant behavior contribute to day time criminalities. Baker & Jansen (2000) believe that truant children exhibit lower academic performance while opined that truancy lead to criminal and delinquent activities. Investigating the impacts of absenteeism and truancy on the academic performance of secondary school students, this research therefore aims at investigating the factors that influence truancy behavior among secondary school students.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to find out the factors that influence truancy behavior among secondary school students, specifically the study intends to;
1. Find out the factors that influence truancy behavior among secondary school students.
2. Analyze the effect of truancy on academic performance of students
3. To find out the level of truancy among secondary school students
4. To proffer solution to the problem of truancy in secondary school