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Causes of School Dropout among Secondary School Students

Causes of School Dropout among Secondary School Students


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The study was designed to examine the causes of school dropout among secondary school students in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State. In this research work the researcher tried to look into the cause of the problem, find solution to them and also allocate the measures of improving the standard. Effort was made by the researcher to collect data from various schools. However, the researcher hopes that the research work will help the reader to have an insight into the reduction of school dropouts in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State. Finally, the research work has suggested ways of improving education in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State. Based on these finding, some recommendations were made at the end of the study.



1.1 Background to the Study

Dropping out of school is a well-documented social problem and often presents daunting circumstances for adolescents. Dropping out is also associated with delinquency and low school achievements. One of the major reasons for children being kept out of school was the lack of education of parents.

The issue of school dropout in Nigeria has been with us for a very long time. Fafunwa (2008) 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 dropouts has already established its grip on our educational system. This can be buttressed with the remark made by Nuffield foundations in 1953 that in the West coast of Africa, a considerable proportion of students drop out of school each year. It was found that parents’ attitudes toward education have a major effect on education. It seems that when either of the parents is literate or especially when women are literate, they are more willing to send their children, especially girls, to school.

“The huge dropout rates, however, indicate that children, girls more often than boys, are needed for other activities such as looking after other siblings, domestic work and help with farm work. Parents play a crucial role in keeping young people in school.

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°!o 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 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 well-being of dropouts and 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.


The degree and nature of family support are determined by such factors as stressful/unstable home life, socioeconomic status, minority membership, siblings’ completion of high school, single parent household, poor education of parents and primary language other than English” (Horn, 2010). The girls who are denied educational opportunities disproportionately as compared to boys suggest clear-cut discrimination in household behaviour. Parental and social attitudes in most Indian cultural context tend to perpetuate the stereotypes of girls being transient members of families on their journey to marriage and boys being the mainstay of support to ageing parents.

Education, which has rightly been conceived as a preparation for life, is a productive activity and an investment in human resources. A progressive and welfare state (country) would never ignore its indisputable need for socialization of its masses of which education is considered to be the chief organ for this purpose. Education is an important component of economic and social development and contributes significantly to a country’s progress. It is considered to be an investment in human capital as it builds human capabilities, which is a vital nation-building ingredient. Without spread of literacy, the dream of socioeconomic development of the country can never be realized(Abdul, 2011).

Globally, reasons, why students drop out from school, can be categorized into four clusters. These include; School related, Job-related, family related, and community-related. Study by Frenden berg and RugIls (2007) identified twenty-four factors under family cluster; three factors under the 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 identified: 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, the 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.

It must be stressed at this point that variables in each of the clusters are not all conclusive. The reasons why students drop out of school vary from one society to another, and from one country to another. For example, in Pakistan, Mohsin et al (2004) found a weak primary education system, non-availability of trained teachers, and parent-teacher relationship as the major causes of dropouts.

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Most of the research on the causes of dropout in Nigeria isolated the following: (i) Poor educational background of parents, (ii) inability of parents to pay their children’s school fees, (iii) failure in school examination, (iv) very poor

state of facilities in schools, (v) unemployment of graduates, (vi) broken homes, (vii) types of parents’ occupation,(viii) school discipline policies, (ix) teenage pregnancy, (x) early marriage and (xi) very early ambition for self business and employment.

According to sokare (2008) the emotional effect include depressing, sorry, dreadful etc. in the political dimension sokare (2012) noted that during elections, opponents of the dropout use issue of dropout to use society to incorporate socio-economic and political instability, unhealthy and stressful society.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

This study was carried out to correct the imbalance in research efforts on our knowledge of school dropout. Most of the researches on dropout have been centered on causes, effects and remedies. Most if not all the researches in Nigeria on the same subject matter followed the same pattern. No studies to my knowledge in Nigeria studied dropout problems using the parameter “pattern of dropout” under the influences of school type and environment.

The inability of students to attain their academic achievement is as a result of certain motivation, and socio-economic background, (Fombo 1997). Another problem is that female children began their domestic function at an early age as expected by their parent, the females at that stage combine both domestic functions and educational responsibilities, which result to poor academic achievement.

This study is therefore very timely arid significant. The statement of the problem therefore is: will the evaluation of dropout patterns among senior secondary schools in Uvwie local Government Area Delta State identify the most vulnerable groups susceptible to dropout from school.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The main objective of the study is to identify and explain the causes of school dropout among secondary school students in Uvwie and also to collect and access data from pupils and parents according to gender.

1.4 Research Questions

To guide this study, the following research questions were raised:

  1. To what extent does teenage pregnancy affect female dropouts in school?
  2. To what extent does early marriage affect the rate of dropout in school?
  3. To what extent does the prostitution of female students affect the dropout of school?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were stated and tested at 0.05 level of significance.

  1. H01: There is no significant difference in response among the respondents as to whether teenage pregnancy affects female dropouts in secondary school
  2. H02: There is no significant difference in response among the respondents as to whether financial problems affect female dropout in secondary school.
  3. H03: There is no significant difference in response among the respondents as to whether early marriage affects female dropout in secondary schools.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

The study is limited to some selected secondary schools Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State.

Schools were used as sample for collection of information. The secondary schools includes in table 1:

  1. Ekpan Secondary School Fkpan
  2. Ogbe Secondary School Effurun
  3. Army Day Secondary school
  4. Our Ladies High school Effurun
  5. Word Of Faith Schools

1.7 Significance of the study

The importance of the study is to examine the causes of school dropout among secondary school students in Uvwie. This research work will be of great advantage to the readers which include the students, teacher heads of school and the government. The students will benefit from this study because of the logical approach on the research to clearly identify the importance and benefit. The government, parents, teachers, and heads schools will find this study beneficial in planning and controlling policies to improve education in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State.

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The study may be beneficial for the following reasons:

  1. Parent: the study will serve as a guide to making decision and how to motivate the girl-child to go to school. It also gives the parent insight on how they should educate their daughters on sex-related matters, that is, the effect of pregnancy and how to avoid it.
  2. Government: Government may equally benefit from the study because it will serve as a guide in formulating policies in order to regulate early marriage and also enlighten them on the importance of education and consequence of early marriage. It will create an enabling environment for them to actively go to school.
  3. Students: students may benefit from this study because it will serve as a guide to making relevant decision that going to school is better than involving in antisocial activities.
  4. Researcher: The researcher may also benefit from this study because it may serve as a guide for the researcher to find out or get more information he may likely use for the research work that may be beneficial to the female student and teachers.

1.8 Limitation of the study

The sample use for this study was limited to selected secondary schools, which was used to generalize the causes of school dropout among secondary school students in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State.

Another limitation are the Certain factors passed some constraint in this study. These include Time, finance, and Experience on the part of the researcher.

Time: this is the most essential factor that has made the researcher to limit his study to selected schools in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State.

The researcher was unable to travel to many places which would have added some colour to the research.

Finance: Generally, Finance plays an important role in research studies.

The lack of adequate finance made the researcher to study few schools.

In addition to the above limitation is the researcher’s experience in research.

In the process of giving out questionnaires to the selected school schools, the researcher’s experience is still at the elementary stage.

1.9 Definition of the term

Dropout: The researcher has categorized dropout into two terms, voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary dropout is where the student withdraws from school because he/she feels disillusioned and depressed and becomes dissatisfied with his/her academic achievement, and therefore decides to pull out of the school system, while the involuntary dropout is a result of economic difficulty and family condition.

Student: A student is a learner or someone who attends an educational institution. Also, a learner drops out of school for a number of different reasons—and it’s typically a combination of many issues.

School: This is an institution for educating children School dropout: Dropping out is leaving school without a high school diploma or equivalent credential such, as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate as defined by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Mr. Harrison

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