1.1 Background to the Study
Education is a process through which individuals acquire adequate and appropriate knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and behaviour necessary to function optimally as a citizen. It is considered as the bedrock of all facets of development of any nation, and a strong tool in development of human capacity. Wood (2010) described education as the key factor in the development of the nation, communities and individuals with regard to employment opportunities, economic empowerment and social accomplishment.
The major concern in basic education is ensuring that students stay in school until they complete their education. Dropping out is a serious problem because it denies individual students their fundamental human right to education. Internationally, the individual right to education has been repeatedly affirmed in many treaties and conventions such as The 1948 Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 1990 World Conference on Education for all (UNESCO, 2000) of which Nigeria is one of the signatory. There is general consensus that the school dropout problem has reached epidemic proportions internationally and has become a global problem confronting the education industry round the world (Wotherspoon, 2004; Bridgeland, Entwisle and Horsey, 2006; Oghuvbu, 2008).
The students who withdraw from school prematurely end up not obtaining any certificate of graduation. The major social costs of dropping out of school include reduced political participation, increased demand for social services, increased crime rates and poor levels of health (Azam, 2007). Individual costs include lower earnings, unemployment prospects and greater likelihood of health problems (Thurton et al., 2006). It is clear from the foregoing, that by dropping out of school, most students severely limit their chances of economic and social well-being in the future. In this regard, a UNESCO report 2000 on the state of the world‘s children, points out, that about 130 million children in the developing world are denied their right to education through dropping out. To Maton and Moore (2010), the problem of dropping out should be the concern of every member of society since it has negative consequences at both the individual and social level. Thus dropout is not a mere problem that affects an individual but it is a problem that affects the entire community as it has been noticed that certain dropouts get involved in crime (Jamil et al, 2010). Policies and measures to improve school progression and reduce the numbers of students dropping out of secondary schools in Nigeria are critical if national educational goals are to be achieved.
UNESCO (2011) observations indicate that students are starting secondary school in greater numbers than ever before, but dropout rates are significant which lead to low levels of secondary school completion in many countries. With these substantial rates of drop out and non-completion of secondary school education it means many students are leaving schooling without acquiring the most basic skills. Their brief schooling experience frequently consists of limited learning opportunities in overcrowded classrooms with insufficient learning materials and under-qualified teachers
(Alexander, 2008). Students of different abilities are mixed together in single classrooms without proper adaptation of teaching methods to improve learning and to induce school engagement (Little, 2008). Such schooling circumstances, together with personal and family level factors such as poverty, jeopardize meaningful access to education for many students. As a result, many children are registered in schools but fail to attend, participate but fail to learn, are enrolled for several years but fail to progress and drop out from school (UNESCO, 2011).
Failure to complete an ordinary secondary school not only limits future career opportunities for children but also represents a significant drain on the limited resources that countries have for the provision of secondary education. Despite its importance, strategies designed to improve school retention and progression has received relatively little attention. Typically, national education plans assume that secondary school progression will improve automatically as a result of interventions designed to improve initial access and educational quality. Therefore, a study of this nature is pertinent and crucial as it is meant to raise awareness concerning school dropout and to understand more specifically the phenomenon of school dropout in secondary schools, especially in Benue State and to provide strategic remedies for sustainable secondary school attendance and completion for those enrolled.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Education in Nigeria is based on the premise that it is an instrument par excellence for effecting national development. The over-riding philosophy of Nigeria‘s educational system is based on two major issues; the integration of the individual into a sound and effective citizen, and the provision of equal educational opportunities for all citizen at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels both inside and outside the formal school system.
Ameh (2013), secondary education occupies a vital place in the Nigeria‘s educational system. As a result, secondary education has been taken seriously from its earliest time not only as an acceptable qualification for good jobs but also as a gateway to sound higher education both academic and professional. Secondary school dropout is increasing tremendously in Benue state. This situation has caused a challenge to school administration, staff, parents, community, employers and to youth themselves. As minimum skill expectations have increased at every educational, employment entry point and the importance of attaining an ordinary level secondary education. Despite this trend and the increased severity of the negative consequences of dropping out for many secondary school students particularly those from low-income families, graduating from school has remained problematic (Hammond, 2007). This is happening parallel to government‘s deliberate actions and initiatives to spearhead national education goal through National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP) towards realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and transformation agenda.
Soon the communities in Benue state will be overcrowded with youths who lack basic knowledge and life skills to make a living. Coping with globalization will become a nightmare to a nation with illiterate or semi-illiterate people. Hence, the purpose of the study is not only to investigate and explores factors responsible for school dropout among
secondary school students in Benue state but also to proffer remedies for
sustainable school attendance and completion for those enrolled.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of this research was to assess dropout in secondary school in Benue State and design remedial strategies for the dropouts. The specific objectives are to:
- determine the influence of demographic characteristics on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria.
- determine the influence of school factors on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria.
- determine the influence of parental factors on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria.
- determine the influence of teachers‘ factors on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria.
- determine the influence of school location on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria.
1. 4 Research Questions
This research is designed to provide answers to a number of questions. These include:
- What is the influence of demographic characteristics on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria?
- What is the influence of school factors on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria?
- What is the influence of parental factors on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria?
- What is the influence of teachers‘ factors on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria?
- What is the influence of school location on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria?
1.5 Null Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were tested at significant level of 0.05.
- HO1: Demographic characteristics have no significant influence on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria.
- HO2: School factors have no significant influence on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria.
- HO3: Parental factors have no significant influence on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria.
- HO4: Teachers‘ factors have no significant influence on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria.
- HO5: School location has no significant influence on the rate of drop out among secondary school students in Benue State, Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Through presenting the research work in educational conference and seminars, parents would be enlighten and motivate to give more positive support to their children‘s education. Publishing this researcher work in educational journals, educational planners and administrators would be enlightened on policies and strategies that will help to reduce the rate of
dropouts among secondary schools students.
This study will also serve as source of information in order to improve the efficiency of our educational system through reducing the rates of dropout by enlightening public school teachers on how to identify students at risk of dropping out of school and make their instruction of interest to the students. It will also inform the government to identify the 6
best remedial programme that will assist the dropouts to become useful to them, their parent and society.
1.7 Basic Assumptions
The basic assumptions underlying this study were, that :-
- the dropout rate of boys and girls are the same in Benue State;
- dropout rate is more in senior class than junior class in public secondary schools in Benue State;
- the remedial strategies acceptable to boys are likely to be same as that of girls in Benue State; and
- remedial strategies will sustain secondary school attendance and completion in Benue State.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
This study was delimited to public secondary schools dropout in the three senatorial zones in Benue state. The study was further delimited to dropout students between 2011 – 2014 academic sessions in 23 local governments in Benue state. The choice of this was as a result of prevalence rate of dropout among secondary school students during the academic session.