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STUDY ON THE CAUSES OF DROPOUT AMONG PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS
1.1 Background to the Study
School dropout in its simplest meaning is the untimely withdrawal from school. These students who withdraw from school prematurely end up not obtaining any certificate of graduation. The issue of school dropout is a global problem confronting the education industry round the world. Researchers like; Mohsin, Aslam and Bashir (2004); De Cos (2005); Bridgeland, Dilulio, and Morison (2006), and Oghuvbu (2008) have since buttressed this fact. The issue of school dropout in Nigeria has been with us for a very long time. Fafunwa (1983) noted that dropout is one of the most serious problems that have continued to bedevil our educational system since independence in 1960 from the colonial administration. Even before our independence, the problem of dropout has already established its grip on our educational system. This can be buttressed with the remark made by Nuffied foundations in 1953 that in the West coast of Africa, a considerable proportion of student’s dropout of school each year. This study has come at a time when there is high rate of insecurity in the country as a result of criminal activities. Survey by both the print and electronic media tends to indicate that over 85% of the criminal activities perpetuated in Nigeria are done by youths who dropped out of school. This development has become a cause of serious concern to all well-meaning Nigerians. This tends to suggest that our educational system is in trouble and thus needs a very serious attention in refocusing it and restructuring it for the attainment of national goals. De Cos (2005) commenting on the importance of graduation from high school noted that; with the economy changing from a dependence on manufacturing towards more reliance on technology, services, and a “knowledge economy”, the need for education beyond high school has grown. In Nigeria of today, Senior School Certificate is considered as the minimum required for most jobs and status positions. This development has serious implications for the economic wellbeing of dropouts and the society at large. In this era of global economic meltdown and global economic competitiveness, Nigeria as a nation that has vision must make concerted efforts to raise the educational attainment of all its youths who are the leaders of tomorrow.
Any education system aims to have pupils complete the full primary cycle before either joining secondary schools or joining the world of work (Nduku, 2003; Ngotho, 2003; Mutuma, 2005). When it is apparent that a big number of children drop out of school before completing the cycle, this becomes a major problem because: firstly, children who drop out are pushed out of the education system and prematurely flow into the free world without the necessary skills and qualification. When they join their unemployed colleagues, they soon lose the little literacy they had acquired. Secondly, each child that leaves school prematurely leads to economic loss to the government and parents. Thirdly, a child with little education finds it difficult to move upwards along the social ladder. Lastly, school dropouts indulge in antisocial activities such as crime, prostitution, drug and substance abuse, and frustrations may lead some into suicide. School dropouts thus create problems for themselves and the society at large (Mathenge, 1998).
Globally, reasons why students dropout from school can be categorized into four clusters. These include; School related, Job related, family related, and community related. Study by Frendenberg and Ruglls (2007) identified twenty four factors under family cluster; three factors under community cluster and twelve factors under school cluster. The factors identified under family cluster include; low family socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic groups, male, special education status, low family support for education, low parental education, residential mobility, low social conformity, low acceptance of adult authority, high level of social isolation, disruptive behaviour conduct, being held back in school, poor academic achievement, academic problems in early grades, not liking school, feelings of “not fitting in” and of not belonging, perceptions of unfair or harsh disciplines, feeling unsafe in school, not engaged in school, being suspended or expelled, conflicts between work and school, having to work and school, having to work or support family, substance use and pregnancy. In community cluster, the following factors were indentified: living in a low income neighborhood, having peers with low educational aspirations and having friends or siblings who are dropouts. Under school related cluster, these factors were indentified; low socioeconomic status of school population, high level of racial or ethnic segregation of students, high proportion of students of colour in high school, high proportion of students enrolled in special education, location in central city, large school district, school safety and disciplinary policies, high-stakes testing, high student –to- teacher ratio, academic tracking, discrepancy between the racial or ethnic composition of students and faculty, and lack of programmes and support for transition into high for 9th and 10th graders. While job related cluster entails: those students who could not work and school at the same time, those who had to do a job to survive and those who found job.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Dropping out is a serious problem because it denies individual students their fundamental human right to education. There is general consensus that the school dropout problem has reached epidemic proportions intentionally and has become a global problem confronting the education sector round the world (Wotherspoon, 2004). Studies in India, Rani (2011) found financial difficulties, children not interested in studies, parents not interested in studies, lack of education facilities in the nearby villages and lack of quality education as reasons cited for dropping out. In almost all developing countries school dropout or low completion rates have been a subject of interest to researchers and policy makers for a long time. According to the Poverty Status Report of 2005, the phenomenon of high dropout rates continues to pose a big challenge to the successful implementation of national policies.
The problem of drop-out rate among students in Nigeria has its untold effects on the life of the individuals and the society in general. It is quite unfortunate that some parents do not allow their children to attend school, who engage them in one form of economic activity or the other. Recently, high drop-out rate has become a public outcry. As a result of the above problems, the researcher is disturbed and motivated to investigate those causes of drop-out and also proffer solutions to tackle these problems.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of this study is to find out the causes of school dropout among primary school pupils, specifically the study intends:
1. To analyze the influence of parents socio-economic factors on pupils’ dropout in primary schools
2. To establish the school-based factors that influence pupils’ dropout.
3. To determine the influence of pupil characteristics on pupils’ dropout
4. Investigate the effect of cultural related factors on school dropout