TRUANCY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN EBONYI SOUTH EDUCATION ZONE
TRUANCY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN EBONYI SOUTH EDUCATION ZONE
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Staying in school is the first step to a good education and in order to achieve academic excellence, the students are mandated by the school laws to attend school daily but due to some factors (which work will unravel) most students absent themselves from formal school activities hence engaging in truancy. When this happens, every one loses; students lose the benefits of instruction, the society loses income and the community suffers from increase juvenile crime.
Historically, the origin of truancy can be traced to the Massachusetts compulsory Education Act of 1647 and its subsequent school Attendance Act of 1852, which forced parents to send their children for at least 12 weeks in a term (Michael, 2005).
To this Act, every school is by law required to notify any student who acquires five unexcused absence within a school year.
However, it is through this unexcused absence from school without legitimate or legal knowledge of parents, guardian or the school that truancy among students came into being. Conceptually, the term “Truancy” has been defined in various ways by different people and agencies such as counsellors, psychologist, sociologist, welfare Authorities and Educators in general.
Stoll (2002) defines truancy as “absence from school for no legitimate reason”. He went further to state that many students do skip either single class or even a full day school at least once during their academic career. This is because they may want to attend a special event, prepare for promotion night or simply take what is known in the world of work as a “Mental health day”. This Isolated incidence (truancy) is quite typical and likely to create problems which can lead to varied set of negative and even more dangerous consequences.
Peninsky (2000) wrote that when a child is a truant, it implies that he has been constantly absent from school for so many days, weeks or even moths. Truancy, he further explains is a deliberate absence from school for no medial or justifiable reason, with or without parental knowledge. Peninsky’s explanation of truancy agrees very well with the definition given in Collin’s English dictionary in which a truant is described as one’s absent from duty without leave especially children who absent themselves from school. In the same manner, Nwana (2004) explained truancy to include Intentionally absenting of oneself from school without permission, leaving without authorization and dodging of specific lesson periods.
Truancy on academic in secondary school is a situation in which students develop and show adverse attitude and behaviour to learning. They absent themselves from classes using unnecessary excuses such as in genuine sickness, fake suspension by the class teacher or school authority and involvement in sport activities. Truancy can equally occur in a boring and boredom classes, harsh teachers who are difficulty to approach and in an unconducive school environment (Osarenren, 1999)).
The causes of truancy among secondary school students have been attributed to lack of writing materials such as pen, pencil, exercise book, recommended text books, school uniform and midday meal (Obe, 1998).
The government is also another major cause of student truancy. This is attributed to the fact that Government do not pay teachers regularly and most of their allowance such as leave allowance, sport and science allowance etc are being withheld, most teachers find it difficulty to be committed and dedicated to their primary duties of teaching.
When this occurs and the students do not find their teacher in the class, the next plan of action is truancy. It is common these days to see students roaming about in streets during school hours. Such act has often been followed by incidence of aggressiveness and other terrible negative actions.
Some parents due to the nature of their jobs, show nonchalant attitudes to their wards and as such, they grow up to be corrupt and aggressive hence getting nothing and giving out nothing. Most parents do give too much money to their wards thus contributing to their truant behaviours.
Also, with the breakthrough in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) which led to the emergence of Internet system in the World Wide Web. The use of internet system, though very beneficial to students, especially in the areas of research work as it provides them with a medium of Interaction with renowned scholars and authors whom they wouldn’t have ordinarily met in their life time. Conversely, internet system have equally contribution much to the promotion of truancy among secondary school students. This is because most students especially those in secondary school do abandon their lessons to visit Internet cafes thereby spending much of their valuable time and resource only to visit pornographic sites and some other sex related sites which will in turn ruin their lives thereby increasing the rate of immoral behaviour among youths in our society (Shyam, 2006).
The introduction of Internet use had denied students the chance of thorough research work as ready-made materials are readily found on the Internet. This makes them to lack the in-depth knowledge about the object of inquiry hence resulting to “educated illiterates” (Pam Willenz, 2006).
All these have drastically reduce the level of students academic performance in both Internal and external examinations. Below is a review of students performance on six subjects in west Africa Examination Council between 2000 to 2003 in one of selected secondary school in Ebonyi South Educational zone(Onicha Technical College, Enuagu Onicha).
4 – Year Percentage performance of Candidates in six subjects in Onicha Technical College.
|Subject||%of passes at credit grade (1-6)||% of Failure (F9)|
Sources: Statistics from WAEC Chief Examiner’s Report 2003.
As result of the inability of truant students to perform creditably in both Internal and external examination, they eventually engage in examination malpractice in order to measure up in their academic works. This their inadequacies in academic works do lead to waste of money and other resources, Worst of it all is the psychological trauma which parents of truants children suffer due to their failures in examination and other terrible negative attitude exhibited by their words such as armed rubbery, prostitution, drug abuse and drug trafficking, and other social crimes ranging from pick-pocketing to secret cult (Stool, 2002).
It is from the foregoing that the researcher recognized truancy as a delinquent act that has an ill-attitude-on secondary school students academic achievement as well as their moral lives. It is therefore on this grounds that the researcher considers it necessary / pertinent and quite imperative to carry out this study/ research so as to determine the extend to which truancy reduces the academic achievement of secondary school students and as well ascertain the extend to which truancy affects the society.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The objective of secondary school education in Nigeria is to provide students with academic and vocational skills as well as moral ethics, but it is quite unfortunate that these objectives have not been fully achieved due to the high level of students involvement in truant behaviours. Due to this, this study aims at investigating truancy among secondary school students in Ebonyi South Educational zone.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to examine truancy among secondary school students in Ebonyi South Educational zone. The research will further look into the following specific purposes:
- To determine the causes of truancy among secondary school students.
- To ascertain the extent to which truancy affects students academic performance.
- To find out how truancy manifest among secondary school students.
- To determine the effect of truancy on the society.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is hoped that the result of this study will be useful to the followings:
- To school administrators; this study, will examine the various causes and consequences of truancy and state the ways of curbing it which will serve as a vital instrument for effective school administration.
- To parents; the study will equally give parents an insight on how and why their wards engage in truancy.
- The study will also be of immense value to Graduate and undergraduate students who are studying administration in the field of education as it will give them an insight on how to handle truant students.
- The Study will also help in the discovery of the fundamental aspects of truancy that is mostly found among students. With this, proper guidance and counseling will be giving to them to enable them make the best out of education.
To guide the proper conduct of this study, the following research questions were raised.
- What are the causes of truancy among students in secondary school?
- To what extend does truancy affect the academic performance of secondary school students?
- What are the ways through which truancy can manifest in students?
- What are the effect of truancy on the society?
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research is designed to cover Ebonyi South Educational zone of Ebonyi state. This study centres on truancy among secondary school students, it is mainly limited to public secondary school students in Ebonyi South Educational Zone of Ebonyi State.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The review of related literature is presented under the following sub-headings:
- Concept of truancy
- Types of Truancy.
- Truancy as a disciplinary problem in secondary schools.
- Causes of Truancy.
- Effects of Truancy
- Suggestions for reducing truancy
- Empirical studies.
- Summary of Review of Related Literature.
CONCEPT OF TRUANCY
The term truancy has been conceptualised by different authors in different ways. According to the International Dictionary of Education (2002), truancy is defined as a “deliberate absence from school without parental knowledge”. In the same manner, the New Western Comprehensive Dictionary Special Price Edition (2004), said that truancy is “when a student stays away without permission, anyone who absent himself from work or duty without good reasons, the knowledge of the authority” . The above definitions are in agreement that truancy occurs when a student absents himself from school without due permission either from parents or from the related authorities.
On its popular meaning Carter (2000) considers truancy as a:
deliberate absence from school on the part of the pupil without the knowledge and consent of parents; absence of the pupil from the school for which no reasonable or acceptable excuse is given (this latter concept broadens the definition considerably and makes it synonymous with unexcused absence.
Similarly Adeyemo (1999) defines truancy, as a delinquent act which occurs when “a child often stays away from the school without good reasons”.
These definitions indicated certain elements of truancy that must be stressed and in order to have a proper understanding of the concept. Carter’s definition carries the implication that the act of truancy is deliberate and that the reason for absence is invalid from the view points of parents and school authorities and not from that of the truant.
TYPES OF TRUANCY
There are three types of truancy which are as follows:
- Habitual Truancy
- Occasional Truancy
- Casual Truancy
This is the type of truancy that occurs when a student (truant) constantly and continually absent from school without the due knowledge or consent of his parents and school authorities. Habitual truants are mainly those students who miss numerous full days of school academic activities. Their frequency of absenteeism have become a regular behaviour or habit. It is important to note that students who are habitual truants have high chances of falling behind in their school work, decline in their academic performance and even lose their attachment or positive attitudes towards school (Ezeani, 2006).
This type of truancy occurs when a student does not constantly and continually absent himself from school. In this type of truancy, the student’s level of absenteeism from school without the permission of parents or school authority is irregular or not regular. For instance a child whom the mother refuse going to school and was kept at home to help care for siblings, and the child taken out of school for an out-of-season family holiday e.t.c are all instance of occasional truant (Ezeani, 2006).
This is the type of truancy which occurs when the students absence from school is by chance. This type of truancy or unexcused absence from school is not regular and constant but happens by chance. For instance students who remained lurking within sound of the school bell, so that they could attend those lessons, which interested them (Ezeani, 2006).
TRUANCY AS A DISCIPLINARY PROBLEM
In every human society, there are norms and values which are socially and morally accepted ways of doing things within a societal set up. But in a situation where a person’s behaviour contradicts the accepted societal ways of doing things then such a person is regarded as a law breaker, a deviant or delinquent (Bolarin, 1999).
In the present day Ebonyi State, truancy as a delinquent act is commonly indulged in by both adults and young people. Just as some able bodied adults who are gainfully employed roam about the streets and absent themselves from work for no genuine reason – So also do some school children roam about the streets thus absenting themselves from school or classes regularly without concrete reasons or permission from the related school authorities. However, the problem of truancy is the most common among the youths and this is regarded as a child lacking “discipline”.
Discipline as a concept is very important in the practice of education. A learner who lacks self-discipline can not learn effectively. Discipline in the words of Adesina (1998) is referred to as when students are taught to respect the school authorities, to observe the school laws, regulations and to maintain an established standard of behaviour.
Uka (2003) sees discipline in modern classroom management as the provision of a suitable environment for pupils to develop self-control, orderliness, good conduct, co-operation and the habit of getting the best out of themselves during and after school life. More so, both the English Reader’s Dictionary (2002) and the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2004) concurred that discipline is the training especially of the mind and character to produce self-control, habit of obedience e.t.c.
However, a child who lacks discipline is regarded as being indisciplined. Indiscipline is one of the serious social problems facing Nigerian schools in general and Ebonyi State in particular and the aspect of indiscipline that is of greatest concern in the present day school students is “truancy” (this concept has been clearly explained in the earlier part of this work).
At the National Conference on Discipline and Motivation in schools held in 1999, Abia, Jatau, Ojomo, Ibrahim, Shakaraom, and Oloko pointed out the following factors as causes of indiscipline in Nigeria schools; the home, prevailing situation in the society, the school physical facilities, teachers and school administrators, peer group, security agents, ineffective teaching, authoritarian methods of administration and policy makers. As regards the above causes of indiscipline, parents are required to speak seriously to their wards on the effects of indiscipline especially truancy and lateness.
In the words of Ehimmora (2001), he stressed that truancy is an age-old aspect of indiscipline which brings the school authority into disrepute and in addition ,the unofficial coming and going of children at others times other than normal school day, naturally brings about indiscipline and interrupts normal school routine.
On the reasons why secondary school students absent from school without permission from appropriate authorities, Tyerman (2005) suggest four reasons why truancy as an indiscipline act occurs;
- 1. As a result of illness – the child who is sick may be deliberately kept at home. Most parents having kept the children at home in good faith will not think it necessary to inform the school authority.
- 2. Parents withdrawal – In this case, a child is kept away from school by the parents for their own purpose, maybe to help them in household chores/business.
- 3. The child absents himself in his own volition – in this case, the child absented himself without the permission of parents or school.
- 4. School phobia – In this case a child seems to be afraid of going to school or leaving his home, yet his parents are anxious for him to attend school regularly.
In all, truancy as a disciplinary problem cannot be left unchecked because of the likely effect it could have on the future truants. Healy (2006) states rightly that truancy is the kindergarten of crime. If a school child finds that he can avoid going to school without any serious repercussion, he will sooner or latter believe that he can succeed in other offences. His idleness while playing truancy will set the scene for other crime such as stealing of money and goods. For the problem of truancy as an indiscipline act in schools to be solved, all the related institutions that are involved in child upbringing such as the family, church and school must play active roles.
CAUSES OF TRUANCY
The problem of secondary school truancy in recent times is so alarming and if the issue is not properly handled would greatly affect the effort of government in achieving the objectives of secondary education which so much resources has been spent on. On the causes of truancy, authors differ in their opinion as regards the factors that are responsible for truancy. Evidence from reviewed related literature has indicated that the following factors such as; poor home upbringing, school circumstances, psychological and personality factors, socio-economic situation of the students and societal demands, influence of peer group, social and government influence/factors are the major causes of truancy.
Tracing the causes of truancy back to home upbringing, Cronbach (1998) writes”… the truants came from unsatisfactory home situation, families on relief, broken home and the like”. In the same vein, Ezekwugo (2005) comments that training of children starts from home, and where this is properly done, the foundation laid at home, the school will not find it difficult to continue the education properly.
Furthermore, authors stress that in most cases, the seeds of truancy are laid at home. Odueze (2001), asserts that for education to be real and effective, “there should be sound co-operation between the home and the school.
This view is supported by English (1999) who wrote:
what children need most are parents who can control them. Many are over privileged by been permitted to do as they please. Children who demand too much of their parents, demand too much of the society. The adult should exert control over children and also to mean the orderly and obedient behaviour that this control is designed to secure.
Still relating home upbringing to students’ school behaviour, Shaw as reported by Odueze (2001) states:
Whilst few of us would doubt that the main influence on a child’s life is his home, that of school is a good second, the closer the co-operation between these two, the happier must be the child and the more successful his development in every aspect.
Although, he brings in the idea of punishment, Odueze emphasizes parents’ role in the treatment of a truant. He, in one breath asserts that “corporal punishment leads to truancy in school and therefore results in acts of indiscipline”. And in another breath he holds that punishment should be given to a child but by the parents. This last assertion suggests that the teacher and the parent operate together in the school and that the duty of the parent is to punish the truant while that of the teacher is to teach.
Carter (2000) Crobach (1998), English (1999), Odueze, (2001) and Ezekwugo (2005) indicated that the seed of truancy is laid at home. Poor home upbringing may manifest itself at school in the form of truancy. They emphasise the need for sound co-coperation between the home and the school for any serious and fruitful tackling of the problem of truancy.
In a study carried out by Ogunwe (2003), he pointed out how school factors could contribute to the problem of truancy. To him, some teachers have been found to be very hostile to the children put under their care. Some have been found not to have interest in teaching as a career, some were found not to be attending classes regularly thereby giving room for children to skip classes and develop the habit of truancy while some teachers have been found to be fond of punishing students for all offences they commit thereby scaring some of them from attending school regularly.
In another study carried out by Ehinmolo (2006) on “perception of classroom Teachers on causes of truancy and control among secondary school children”, the following findings on school factors as the causes of truancy were made:
a) Educational problem is a cause of truancy among secondary school children – the educational problem may range from the child not being able to read, write and spell properly to his not being able to assimilate and understand what is read.
b) Disinterest in certain school subjects as a cause of truancy – Students’ hatred for certain teachers can be a cause of truancy as the hatred will be brought about through the interaction of students and teachers in the classroom. Also un-stimulating or un-interesting lesson can cause truancy.
c) Distance from school and transportation problems are also causes of truancy among school children.
Still on school circumsance as a cause of truancy, Blair, Green and Jones (1999) observed in their book “Educational psychology that:
In the face of thwarting and distressing school situation, some pupils find that the easiest way out is to keep away from school and some of the children develop hysterical reactions, e.g. some children become ill on examination days.
In a similar manner Ezekugo (2005) points out that truancy may be due to the type of teacher posted to a school or the attitude of the teachers towards the students, poor teaching, poor organisation, poor attendance of teachers contribute highly to the truancy of students. She made reference to Simpson’s idea that a truant is one who is not happy with schoolwork either because of something is wrong with the school or with pupil himself and instead plans to do something else.
Izuogu (2002) in her own contribution to the causes of truancy holds that “poor preparation of lessons by teachers, use of abusive words on pupils, frequent use of punishment and too much demand of this or that from the pupils, can contribute to pupils staying away form school.
However, facts collected from related literature reviewed indicated that the general school condition has a hand in the cause of truancy.
PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PERSONALITY FACTORS
Hurlocks (2003) relates the cause of truancy to psychological factors writing about an adolescent who is making poor adjustment she writes:
The adolescent who is making poor adjustment at home, in school or with his peers usually engage in more misdemeanour than does the adolescent who is better adjusted. This is seen in the case of truancy, truants suffer from personality disorders due to poor home conditions, they gave poor work habits in the school and are retarded with the result that when they are in class with younger children with whom they have very little in common, they stay away from school in order to escape this frustration environment.
Her way of relating psychological and personality traits agrees well with the direction followed by the dictionary definition of the term. Frustration and even lack of self confidence mentioned by Hurlock could lead to truancy. Also self assertion could be related to truancy. Besides, improper and inappropriate adjustment both home and school circumstance can give rise to act of truancy.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC SITUATION OF THE STUDENTS
Mussen, Conger and Kegan (2000) stated that socio-economic problem and parent-child relationship could contribute to delinquent behaviour. Inconsistent administration of reward and punishment by parents teach their children the response values and benefits appropriate for their social class. Class training for the child ranges from the control of his manners to his educational and occupational goals.
In his list of causes of truancy, Adeyamo (1999) pointed out that lack of basic school materials to work with, makes pupils to run away from the school. He also writes that;
if a child has no exercise book, pen and reading books, he would not like to be punished by the teacher and as such he runs away from the school.
It may be said that the economic status of the parents may contribute to truancy. If the parents are unable to provide the students with the basic school needs, they may be forced to go out of the school to look for such needs. More so, from the related literature reviewed, it was discovered that even students in possession of surplus money still play truancy.
PEER GROUP INFLUENCE
The peer group and classmates have effects on the students’ truant behaviour. As the child frees himself from dependence and control of parents and other adults, he falls back on peer group, for direction and control.
To Nigerian Teachers (2004), members of peer group do put inside their personal feeling and follow the dictates of peer in order to remain in group. Due to this strong feelings and attachment, peer group has generally been viewed as the vehicle through which students learn truant act.
In his speech, Ubaezuonu (1998) said that a boy or a girl can easily mess up a dozen of others of his friends in the school. To him, when a child who is very good boy or girl enters secondary school at the formative age of between ten and fourteen years, when such a child must have been in the school for two to three terms, you start wondering whether it is still your ward. This to him is because he will turn out to be a completely changed child.
Dewey and Humber (2006) state that the need for a student to conform and be like by his peers may bring the student into conflict with his own family. This sensitive young persons is anxious to please his beloved ones and to maintain prestige in the eyes of his own generation this often lead the students into the act of abandoning everything he is supposed to be doing like attending classes and begin to work from place to place in search of where he will get money to be like his peer groups. When this happens, the student will never understand what is going on in the class because he is always absent from school.
EFFECTS OF TRUANCY
Having identified and explained some of the causes of truancy among secondary school students, the next of focus in this review of related literature is the effects of truancy on students.
According to Geo-Opah (2003) in his study on the Effects of delinquency on academic achievement. In this study, 168 secondary school students were used. He reported in his findings that, out of this 168 students, 50 were identified as truants and 118 as non- truants. 35 of the truants were poor in academic achievement while 15 were good academically, 32 were male truants and 18 were female, 16 of the truants were from low socio-economic background, 31were truants due to unfriendly environment in the school… Based on the statistical analysis of the data gathered, Geo-opah (2003) reported the following findings:
That truants are noted for poor academic performance. Both male and female commit acts leading to truancy nowadays, children from low-socio-economic background are more prone to truancy since they lack money and materials for schooling, children from broken homes commit acts leading to truancy than their counterparts form stable homes.
Writing on the effect of truancy in one of the leading Nigeria Dailies, Akorede of the University of Benin observes;
They become a social menace threatening law and order and channelling the equilibrium of the state. They are the core political mal contents becoming riotous and violent in their reaction to authority and their age-mates who have made some achievements (New Nigeria, 2001).
Dittimiya (2001) in his view on the effects of truancy maintains that truancy among students have greatly affected the development of human resources needed for social and economic transformation of the society. To him, truancy is a destructive and undeserving elements of progress, training or mode of life. It is an impediment to national development. Truancy allows students to pervert the whole aim of education, examination and public morality it does not encourage development rather it retards progress of the school and the entire society.
According to Durkhein (2000), Truancy is a gateway to serious violent and non-violent crime. To him, students truant act lead to stealing, fighting, drug addictions, destruction of property, sex scandal and armed robbery. Hence when a student is always absent from classes or school environment, what comes to his mind is evil. He plans how to destroy, how to get rich quick and becomes a millionaire.
In recent times, high percentage of the crime committed are by students of secondary schools. According to the related literature reviewed by the researchers, it was discovered that most crimes are committed during school period than holidays, this is because students who engage in truant behaviour are more busy with their parents and guardians during the holidays. The researcher also discovered that truants. Due to absence from school academic usually repeat classes and even when they are repeating, they do not feel better because they feel that they are too big for such a class. Though few of them (truants) manage to struggle through school and majority of them usually drop out of school if some form of interventions are not taken.
Their level of achievement is generally poor because their emphasis is not on academics. They even see school as a form of punishment and something they are doing not for their sake but to please their parents and guardians.
In all, the adverse effects of truancy manifest most when they drop out of school thereby constituting social nuisance as the male will take to armed robbery and the female prostitution, this therefore becomes a problem for the society.
SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO REDUCE TRUANCY
Having known what truancy means, whom truants are, causes and effects of truancy, the next area of interest is the type of treatment that can be given to truants to make them change their negative attitude at school.
Research studies on ways of reducing truancy or on the treatment of truants in Nigeria school show that the most popular treatment given to truants in the school system is “Corporal Punishment”, which in most cases involves cutting of grass, scrubbing of floors, uprooting figs, sweeping of school compound, planting of flowers e.t.c. This approach however has been referred t as the traditional approach and non-functional (Obe, 1998).
For the problem of truancy to be reduced if not eliminate in our schools, all hands must be on deck and there must be total revolution in our ways of life and sense of values.
The homes, school and the society must relate closely and as well adopt a communicative approach, which should mostly involve both the parents and the truants along with their teachers.
More so, teachers should be good role models. Some teachers have been found to be habitual latecomers and truants. Such teachers are bad models for the students kept under their care. on the other hand, adult members of the society must endeavour to lead by example. Truants in the school must be assisted in all possible ways to develop the habits of self-control based on reasons rather than on force (Ezeani 2006).
Counselling can also be used in assisting truants to give up truancy. To this effect, when truants are identified, school counsellors should ensure that they counsel the students so far identified as truants. Parents should also try to provide some of the basic requirements their children need at school within their meagre resources, (Onyejiaku, 2004).
Due to the fact that truancy is a problem that not only affects the students, but also the students’ family, school and the entire society, Michael (2005) in his article titled “Manual to Combat Truancy”, suggested five primary elements of educational strategy to combat truancy, they include:
- 1. Involve Parents in all Truancy Prevention Activities: According to this element, parents play the fundamental role in the education of their children. No body else commands greater influence in getting young persons to go to school every day and recognising how a good education can define his future than the parents. For families and school to work together to solve problems like truancy there must be mutual trust and communication. Schools can also help by being “family-friendly” and encouraging teachers and parents to make regular contact before problems arise. Schools should help in training of teachers to work with parents, hiring or appointing a parent liaison and to arrange for parent meetings through which parents will have a voice in school decisions, by so doing the problem of school truancy will be reduced.
- 2. Establish on-going Truancy Prevention Programmes in School:
Research findings has reviewed that truancy is a symptom of a much larger problem. In order to curb this ugly incidence, schools should address underlying needs of each child to ensure that truancy is not a re-occurring behaviour. Also students’ basic educational needs such as conducive teaching and learning environment, adequate instructional materials and other academic facilities like library, laboratory and technical workshops e.t.c – should be provided for students so as to help attract their regular school attendance (Michael, 2005).
3. Ensure that Students Face Firm Sanctions for Truancy:
For effective reduction of truancy, schools must communicate to students and families that truancy will not be tolerated from any student and that any student found in this act must face severe and firm punishment from related school authorities.
4. Create Meaningful Incentives for Parental Responsibility:
This is also another suggested element on how truancy can be curtailed among students. Following this principle, the school should create incentive programme both for the parents and children. Positive incentives such as participation in publicly funded activities and cash awards to be given to any parent who plays positive role in truancy reduction among students. On the other hand negative sanctions like fines and imprisonment should be administered to parents who are naïve about their wards irregular attendance to schools, all this will help to promote parental responsibility towards the reduction of truancy (Michael, 2005).
5. Involvement of Law Enforcement Agency in Truancy Reduction>
In order to enforce regular school attendance policies, school officials should establish close linkage with law enforcement agents like police, probation officer, Juvenile and family court officials e.t.c to help prosecute any student caught playing truancy (Michael, 2005).
To crown it all, government should help the police department and court system to establish and run temporary detention centres where they can drop-off school truants. Also the government should as well embark on some other anti- truancy initiatives like Operation Sweep Students Truants in neighbourhoods. With these suggestions, truancy among secondary school students and even those in primary and tertiary institution will be reduced if not eradicated.
The following are facts that are related to this study.
1. Udo (2002) studied factors related to Truancy Among Senior Secondary School Students.
The aim of this study was to provide information on factors related to truancy among senior students in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area. A sample population or size of 1,262 which were drawn from all the secondary schools in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area. An A – 46 item questionnaire were designed based on the research questions and administered to elicit information on factors related to truancy among Senior Secondary School students. Five research questions were posed for the study while two hypotheses were formulated and they were tested using T-test.
The finding revealed that the following factors were responsible for truancy among senior secondary school students; unstable homes, teacher/school factors, psychological and personality factors, the demand of modern living. From the findings of the research, it was discovered that school circumstance i.e. Teacher/school factor is the major causes of truancy among senior students.
This study carried out by Udo (2002) is related to the present study in the sense that both studies are aimed at determining the main factors that causes truancy among secondary school students.
However, while the last study was interested in only truancy among senior students, the present study is interested in all the seconday school students both junior and senior.
2. Geo-Opah (2003) studied “Effects of delinquency on academic achievement”. The purpose of this research was to identify delinquent act such as truancy, juvenile delinquency, absenteeism e.t.c and their effects on the academic achievement of students. A sample size of 168 secondary school students were used which were drawn from some selected secondary school at Nkanu West Local Government Area. Four research questions were put forward and were tested using chi-square. Form the findings, the researcher observed that out of the 168 students, 50 were identified as truants and 118 as non- truants but engage in other delinquent acts.
According to the findings, truants are noted for poor academic performance, both male and female commit acts leading to truancy. Children from broken homes commit more acts leading to truancy than their counterparts from stable homes.
This review relates much to the present study. The last study tried to analyse the causes and effects of truancy and other delinquent acts on the academic performance of students, while present study is interested in both causes. Consequence and remedies of truancy among secondary school students.
However, while the last study was interested in other delinquent acts like juvenile delinquency, absenteeism e.t.c the present study only investigated on truancy. Besides, the last study was carried out in some selected secondary schools at Nkanu-West local government of Enugu state, not in the secondary schools of Ebonyi South Educational Zone of Ebonyi State.
3. Chiakpu (1977) studied “Truancy Among Secondary School Students in Enugu East Local Government Area”
The researcher delved into this study with the aim of ascertaining the possible causes of truancy and how truancy manifest among students. This study involves 7 secondary schools in Enugu East Local Government Area which were randomly drawn to respond to 15 questionnaire items carefully selected to reflect the purpose of the study.
Three research questions were posed for the study and were tested using T-test. The researcher came out with the following findings; that over-size families, Effect of politics, school related factors and peer group influence are the core causes of truancy among secondary school students in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu state.
The researcher also discovered that the age at which truant behaviour began to manifest among students is between 14 and 16 years. The study was related to the present study because peer group influence and school circumstance or related factors which the last researcher discovered as the causes of truancy are also among what the present study identified as the major causes of truancy in secondary schools.
SUMMARY OF REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE.
The literature review had among other things highlighted and discussed some vital issues that are pertinent to this study. In this study, truancy were conceptualised and some authors’ views and opinions were reviewed and most of them concurred that truancy is simply unexcused absence from school without either parental knowledge or school authorities.
Also, the various types of truancy such as casual truancy, habitual truancy, occasional truancy were listed and explained. The review also looked at truancy as a disciplinary problem in schools and maintains that truancy if not checked in school that it can lead to bigger societal crimes because truancy is the kindergarten of crimes. The review also looked at the various causes of truancy among secondary school students such as poor home upbringing, school factors, psychological and personality factors, socio-economic situation of the students and influence of peer group. In this work, the effects of truancy on students was not left out. The review shows that truancy do lead students into stealing, fighting, drug addition, destruction of property, sex scandal and armed robbery.
Furthermore, strategies with which truants are to be treated was suggested which comprises of guidance and counselling, use of corporal punishment, involve parents in all truancy prevention activities, ensure that students face firm sanctions for truancy and use of law enforcement agency.
Finally, it was observed from the literature that some studies carried out in Nigeria had shed some light on related areas of this study and this has helped to throw more light on the direction of the study. Such studies include Ude (2002), he studied factors related to truancy among senior secondary students, Chiakpu in (1997) studied truancy among secondary school students in Enugu East Local Government Area. e.t..c.
DISCUSSION, SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION
DISCUSSION OF FINDING
It is important to note that the discussion of the findings on truancy among secondary school students in Ebonyi South Educational Zone of Ebonyi State are done under the following sub-heading.
1. What are the Causes of Truancy Among Students in Secondary School?
2. To What Extent Does Truancy Affect the Academic Performance of Secondary School Students
3. What are the Ways through which Truancy can Manifest in Students?
4. What are the Effects of truancy on the Society?
1. What are the Causes of Truancy Among Students in Secondary School?
Table 1 with item a, b, c, and d dealt with research question 1. Based on the findings, it was discovered that truancy is caused mostly when the school authorities are not strict over the misbehaviours of students in Ebonyi South Educational Zone. In fact, the truth is that school authorities pay non-challant attitudes to students’ misbehaviour especially truancy in the zone.
From data analysed, it reveals that such factors like the inability of parents to provide their children with basic school needs and teachers negative attitude towards teaching, like absenteeism, laziness and indifference e.t.c are among the greatest cause of truancy among secondary school students. It was as a result of this that Ogumwemino (2002) sates that some teachers have been found not to have interest in teaching as a career, some are very hostile to children put under their care while some were found not to be attending classes regularly thus giving room for children to skip classes. For the above problem to be solved, teachers should change their negative attitudes to teaching and should see teaching as a professional job.
2. To What Extent Does Truancy Affect the Academic Performance of Secondary School Students.
From the findings of the research, it was discovered that constant failure in test, examination and poor performance in classroom activities with the mean scores of 4.26 and 4.11 respectively are the major effects of truancy on the academic achievement of students. On this effect, Dittimiya (2002) stressed that if the above effect of truancy is not solved, that it will greatly affect the development of our human resources needed for social and economic transformation of our society. To him, truancy is a destructive and under serving element to national developments and as such, it must be tackled squarely.
3. What are the Ways through which Truancy can Manifest in Students?
Table 3 with item a, b, c and d attempts to answer research question 3. According to the responses of the respondents it was revealed that constant absent from school, constant dodging of class lesson, inability of students to do class assignment home work and constant late coming to school are the most common ways truancy manifest in students. From the above table, item ‘a’ with highest mean score of 4.21 indicates that over 80% of students who engage in truancy are those who constantly absent themselves from school without due permission from related authorities either parents or school authorities.
4. What are the Effects of truancy on the Society?
Research question 4 is designed to elicit facts on effects of truancy on the society. While responding to the questions, the respondents maintain that the following are the adverse effects of truancy on the society which include: increased rate of academic failures; high rate of crimes like armed robbery; increased rate of unemployment in the society and high rate of touting. As regard the above effects, authors like Durkhein and Menniger (2005) stated that if the above effects are not properly handled, that it can lead to more serious crimes like high rate of day time burglary and vandalism, suicidal behaviours, drug addiction, human and drug trafficking and high risk sexual behaviour which will go a long way in retarding societal growth and development as its educational institutions which is the key to societal progress and development will suffer degradation due to high rate of academic failures in the society.
This study on Truancy among secondary school students in Ebonyi South Educational Zone: Myth and facts has been successfully carried out. The aim of this study was to determine the causes of truancy among secondary school students, identify the effects of truancy on the academic performance of students and to examine the ways through which truancy manifest among students in secondary schools.
In order to achieve the above aims four-research questions were posited to guide the proper conduct of the study. To obtain answers to these questions, a 16-item questionnaire was formulated based on the research questions and was administered to the sample area which were made up of five selected secondary schools from the zone with a total population of one hundred which were randomly selected.
Responses obtained through the questionnaire were analysed in clusters using mean and standard deviation. From the analysis of the data obtained, the following findings were made:
1. That the causes of truancy among students in secondary schools are when the school authorities are not strict over misbehaviour of students, inability of parents to provide their children with basic school needs and teachers’ negative attitudes towards teaching and students like absenteeism, hatred, unapproachable e.t.c.
2 That constant failure in test and examination and poor performance in classroom activities are the major effects of truancy on the academic performance of students. In all the findings still reveal that truant students are always below average in their academic performance/achievement.
3 On the ways truancy can manifest in students, respondents were in agreement that constant absent from school, inability of students to do class assignment and homework and constant dodging of lessons are the core ways though which truancy manifest among students.
4 On the effects of truancy on the society, the respondents responses reveal that increase rate of academic failures in the society, high rate of crimes like armed robbery, prostitution and increase rate of unemployment are the main effects of truancy on the society.
Based on the findings of the research, the researcher hereby makes the following recommendations:
- School authorities should reinforce in her mode of enforcing school rules and regulations as this will go a long way to reduce students misbehaviours in school
- Teachers should see themselves as role models and as well see teaching as their professional career by so doing their negative attitudes towards teaching and students will be reduced if not eliminated.
- Parents should be mandated by school authorities to provide their children with basic school needs, as this will reduce unnecessary outings among students.
- Students who perform poorly in examination and test should face firm punishment or sanctions duly supervised by the class teacher so that in subsequent test and examination they will work harder.
- Form masters and mistresses should ensure that their class register is marked twice every day as this will enable them dictate those who are not always present in the class.
- Government should help the police department to establish and run temporary detention centres where they can drop off truant students, also the government in conjunction with the police should as well embark on some other anti-truancy initiatives like operation sweep truant students in the neighbourhoods. By so doing truant students and potential ones will be afraid of engaging in truancy with this its likely adverse effects on the society will be eradicated automatically.
Truancy is one of the fundamental aspect of indiscipline that is more pronounced among secondary school students which has in one way or the other thwarted the aims and goals of secondary education in Nigeria in general and Ebonyi State in particular.
This study on truancy among secondary school students in Ebonyi South Education Zone: Myth and facts has succeed in profounding efficient recommendations which will be of immense help to reducing if not eradicating truancy in school hence helping in the attainment of secondary education goals and objectives if it is duly implemented.
TRUANCY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN EBONYI SOUTH EDUCATION ZONETo place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank) Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka Account No – 0044157183 Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.