The main objective of this study was to examine factors behind out of school. The study was conducted at Rivers state Council in Nigeria. The study was mainly qualitative and partly quantitative which used questionnaires and interviews as well as documentary review for data collection. A total of 177 respondents were involved in the study. This included 70 children from selected schools, 70 parents and guardians, 36 teachers and 1 State Education Officer (secondary). The study revealed that there are several factors which contribute to out of school among children in Rivers state council. These include early pregnancy, long distance to school, peer pressure, disability, unfriendly environment, sexual harassment, poor performance and petty trade. In addition, lack of enough classrooms, shortage of qualified teachers, lack of teaching and learning materials, absence of food/ lunch in schools and re- integrating young mothers also contribute to out of school. It was found that dropping out increase poverty, illiteracy, crimes and early pregnancies. From the findings of the study, it is recommended that children should commit themselves in their studies and avoid dangerous activities. Teachers should emphasize on the importance of children being educated, parents and guardians should maintain good contact with schools management so as to know children’ academic development and the government should improve learning environment and provide education which is suitable in terms of quality.

1.1 Background to the Problem
Children are important in any education system. They are the basic component for any school to be registered by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. However, the retention of these children within the education system is a great challenge. Children’ dropout, from school is a great concern for any government or society. Despite the fact that many policies and strategies are developed to enhance a smooth transition rate in schools, there are some children who withdraw from school prematurely. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26, for instance states categorically that everyone has the right to education (UNESCO, 1998).

The Nigeria Development Vision 2025 sees education as a critical issue in creating the mindset necessary for national development and competitive economy that will be the driving force for the realization of that vision. Thus, creating an innovative and sustainable education system is to provide empowerment to the next generation which ultimately will determine the success or failure of Nigeria (Maliyamkono, 2006). The underlying assumption of Structural Adjustment Plan (SAP) was that the education sector had become a sink, meaning that more money has been allocated to the sector without meaningful results. This phase was characterized by high dropout rates and underutilization of capacity throughout the sector (Maliyamkono, 2006).

To respond to the problem of dropping out in primary schools and other challenges facing primary schools, the government introduced an Education Training Policy (ETP) and Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP). ETP guides provision of education in Nigeria. The major thrust is in the areas of increasing enrolments, quality improvements, equitable access, and the expansion and optimum utilization of available resources (URT, 1995). In view of this policy, secondary education is conceived to produce a literate society and thus contribute to personal social and economic development. The ETP creates a true partnership between the state and other education providers by encouraging them to establish and manage secondary education and training institutions (URT, 1995).

Education Sector Development Plan covers all educational sectors including primary, secondary, higher and vocational education. It was initiated in 1996 to help the achievement of the government’s long-term development and poverty eradication targets and at the same time addresses the problems brought about by fragmented project interventions. The approach established new relationships in provision of education and training. (URT, 1995).

One of the offsets of ETP and ESDP is the Secondary Education Development Plan (SEDP). SEDP focuses on access, quality improvement, capacity development and direct funding to primary schools. The combined effort of ETP, ESDP and SEDP was expected to improve the overall status of secondary education in Nigeria. One of the challenges faced by SEDP, which also contributes to dropping out in primary schools is the problem of over-crowding in classrooms. Most primary school class rooms, both in urban and rural areas remain overcrowded and national average Teacher/Pupil Ratio (TPR) in primary schools has risen quickly over the past few years, especially in government schools. In 2009, the overall ratio was 1:49; it was 1:43 in government schools and 1:23 in non-government schools. Between 2000 and 2005, the ratio was relatively steady at between 1:20 and 1:23, and up until 2004, there was no difference between government and non-government schools (BEST, 2009)

It can be noted that before the independence of Nigeria, primary schools were run by faith-based organizations and the government. Faith-based organizations involved in running primary schools included the Roman Catholic Church which had a network of seminaries. Other faith-based organizations comprised of protestant denominations, Islamic, Hindu and Bohora organizations. The problem of dropouts during that period was mainly caused by school fees.

The period of 1961 to 1966 was observed by the majority of population the engine for educational reforms, culminating in the Arusha Declaration of 1967. Before the Arusha Declaration, inequalities were glaring in terms of access, segregation and lack of efficient policies. In 1974, a policy was established that pushed rapidly towards Universal Literacy in the shortest possible time (URT, 1995). As a result of the policy, literacy rates jumped to 60% from just 10% in 1961 (Maliyamkono, 2006).

In addition, due to various economic challenges that faced Nigeria in the early 1980s, the country fell back in terms of literacy and one of the results of that fallback was rise in the rate of dropouts. Lack of enough resources such as learning and teaching materials in primary schools was among the factors which contributed to dropping out (Maliyamkono, 2006).

Another factor which contributed to the problem of dropping out in primary schools was the lack of enough teaching and learning materials which has resulted in poor quality of education offered to pupils. Also, a heavy burden of school fees and levies paid by households relative to their income created conditions which lead to high dropout rates among their children such as; farm work, household chores and looking after young children (Maliyamkono, 2006).

The problem of school dropping out is a global problem. Currently, an estimated 125 million kids worldwide drop out from school each year and head down a path that leads to low-paying jobs, poor health, and the continuation of a cycle of poverty that creates immense challenges for families, neighbourhoods, and communities (UNICEF, 2006). According to Sagor (2006), more than 700,000 American teenagers’ dropout of school every year.

Among various measures taken by Nigeria to ensure that primary school pupils are enrolled, stay and complete their studies, is the Secondary Education Development Plan (SEDP). SEDP was formulated under the supervision of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative in 2002. Among others; it aims at prevention of primary school dropouts. Despite improvements registered by SEDP, statistics show that there is a problem of out of school. Report by the Ministry of Education and Culture (2004) shows that more than 25% of primary school children dropout before finishing their primary school studies. Moreover, report by Action Aid (2004), indicates that number of dropouts among girls is higher than boys. This study therefore aims at examining factors that lead to out of school among children in Rivers state Council. It explores measures that have been taken to tackle the problem of out of school and makes suggestions on what measures should be taken to mitigate this problem.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
Out of school among children in Nigeria negatively impacts the development of Nigeria by denying both girls and boys of their constitutional right to education. Maliyamkono (2006) asserts that to meet demands of a modern technology culture from its lower levels, giving a high standard of education to all children between age 6 and 16 is of high priority. Statistics obtained from the Ministry of Education and Culture show that in 2009, around 52% of those who left primary school in 2008 went on to start primary school. This percentage has risen rapidly since 2002; it was only 22% in 2000. However it peaked in 2006 at around 68% and has seen a downturn in the last two years (BEST, 2009). The extent of the problem of out of school is more serious than most people realize because dropping out of school is an underreported activity. Action Aid (2004) reported that Nigeria has a large number of out of school, mostly girls.

The dropout of children from schools is due to a complex interplay of socio-cultural, economic and structural factors. Finding and implementing solutions to this problem has implications well beyond the benefits to individual children in Nigeria. Moreover, enabling children to complete their education is to invest in future progress and better standards of life with multiplier effects. To make efforts that will improve the situation due to dropouts requires a clear understanding of the extent, causes, consequences, and policy responses made to the problem of children dropouts. This understanding will be used as a benchmark for new start. Therefore, this study aims at examining factors behind out of school among children in Rivers state Council in Arusha region.

1.4 General objective of the Study
The purpose of the study was to examine factors behind out of school among children in Rivers state Nigeria.

1.5 Specific objectives of the Study
The study was guided by the following objectives:

1. To examine causes of out of school among children in Rivers state Council.

2. To investigate the effects of out of school children on national development and personal development especially the development of children in primary schools.

3. To explore measures that can be taken to tackle the problem of out of school among children in Rivers state Council.

1.6 Research Questions
1. What are the causes of out of school among children in Rivers state Council?

2. What are the effects of out of school children on the national development and personal development of children in primary schools?

3. What measures can be taken to tackle the problem of dropouts in Rivers state Council primary schools?

1.7 Significance of the Study
1. The findings in this study are useful in creating awareness to the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and other Education stakeholders on the issue of dropping out in primary schools in Nigeria, so that the situation can be rectified .

2. The study will help to raise the level of awareness among parents and guardians on causes and effects of dropping out for their children and in doing so it makes them take measures to ensure that their children stay in school for future benefits of families, their societies and the country as a whole.

3. The results found in this study are useful to various Education Stakeholders like (Haki Elimu) by focusing their advocacy efforts towards the issue of dropping out.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 62 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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