The increasingly high rate of school dropout is worrying all the stakeholders in the education sector including parents, teachers and the government. This is because these people are aware of the challenges that will face students who drop out of school. Although leaders have called on communities, families and schools to make efforts to ensure that students remain at school, the rate at which the students drop out of school is still high. It is therefore important that we analyze the problem with a view of understanding it better, so that we may know how to resolve it once and for all.
The number of students who complete school in the US has been steadily declining over the years. In fact, over the last decades, this figure has only increased in seven states. In ten states, the percentage of students who did not complete school was 8% or higher, which reflects a disturbing trend. US is currently ranked tenth among the countries in the world which have the highest school completion rates. When a country that is considered to be the superpower is ranked tenth on school completion rates, this shows that there is a major underlying problem.
Factors that contribute to the high school student drop out rate. Family cohesion and background. This is one of the major reasons why students drop out of school. Students who come from families where there is violence, abusive homes or poor parental relations have higher chances of dropping out of school, compared to those who come from stable homes. This is due to the fact that such children are more likely to have stress and depression because of the problems that they have. They are also likely to start abusing drugs at an early age, which may contribute to their dropping out of school.
Statistics also show that children who come from single parent families are also more likely to drop out of school than those who have both parents. This situation is linked to low self esteem as well as problems that children who come from single parent families face. Early pregnancy. Early pregnancy is a major challenge for young girls, and is a contributor to their dropping out of school. This situation is compounded by situations where the young girls’ families are not financially stable, or cases where the boy responsible for the pregnancy is either unwilling or unable to support the girl.
Many young girls who face this situation usually take breaks to give birth, but fail to return to school due to various reasons. The girls who are not financially well off are forced to drop out of school to take care of their children, while others fear going back to school due to stigmatization. School violence. This is a factor that is increasingly contributing to the dropping out of school by students. School violence has increased in the recent past, and takes various forms.
It might take the form of serious security breaches that involve use of deadly weapons, like was witnessed in the 1999 Columbine high school massacre (Rosenberg 2008). It may also take the form of bullying and harassment of students by fellow classmates. Both these forms of violence have the potential to create fear to actual victims, and may discourage them from attending school. In these cases, there is genuine fear for their lives and they may drop out of school. Employment. Poverty or general unemployment of members of the family may make students drop out of school.
This is because the students may be forced to work in order to support their family. In these cases, the students may not have adequate time to study due to the responsibilities that they have. Employment opportunities may not only be available to the students who are not well off financially. Some students come from financially stable families but look for employment opportunities so that they might save money. These students are also likely to drop out of school since it is difficult to work and study at the same time. Psychological or personal characteristics.
There are certain characteristics that students may possess, which may make them drop out of school at an early age. These may be either physical or psychological characteristics. Psychological characteristics may include low self esteem, mental illnesses, depression and stress, among other problems. In case students have these problems and they are either not addressed early enough, or these students lack learning facilities that accommodate their unique needs, they are highly likely to drop out of school. According to Kenneth (35-39), students may also face physical disabilities that hinder the learning process.
Such include blindness, deafness or other physical disabilities. If such students also lack facilities that can handle their needs, they are also likely to drop out of school. Substance abuse. According to David and Wayne (4-8), students who engage in substance abuse have very high chances of dropping out of school. Students who abuse alcohol or other hard drugs such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine or other drugs are likely to drop out of school. This is due to the disciplinary problems that they are likely to face in school as well as the fact that such drugs hinder the learning capabilities.
Such students are unlikely to perform well in school, and this has the effect of demotivating them. They are also more likely to face stress and depression, and all these factors work to increase their chances of dropping out of school. Perceived loss of value of school diplomas. The modern business environment has become very competitive, and this is attributed to globalization. Success in the modern world is increasingly based on merit and job performance. Employers are nowadays looking for very high academic qualification when recruiting employees.
In this regards, high school diplomas are generally perceived to have lost value, and students need to pursue further education so that they might get employment opportunities in this competitive business environment. Some students therefore opt to drop out of school and pursue other interests due to this perception. Such interests include drama, movies, modeling or the music industry. However, what most students are not aware of is that one has to have basic education in order to be successful in these fields. High school education acts as a platform for pursuing further education and building a career. Limited number of counselors.
Statistics point to the fact that the average number of students who are served by a single counselor is 500. In high school, the average number of students served by a single counselor is 285. These counsellors have many tasks to accomplish and have very little time to interact with students. According to Jill (311-317), students who are about to drop out of school may therefore not find someone to talk to and get advice regarding the situation. This is also compounded by the fact that most of these students have poor relations with their parents, since teenagers and parents usually have communication problems.
Students therefore opt to drop out of school due to lack of advice on the consequences of making this decision. Solutions to these problems. Counseling. Most students may reverse their decision to drop out of school if they are advised on the consequences of making this decision by someone that they trust. In most of these cases, counselors are the best people to advice the students since there are young counsellors who understand the problems that these students go through. The government should ensure that there are enough counselors to serve all students.
Sometimes students may be depressed and they only need someone to share their problems with. When they are unable to find someone, they take drastic steps like dropping out of schools. Counselors will advise students that education is very important for success in life. Safety. The government and all education stakeholders should also ensure that the school environment is safe for all people. There should be adequate controls that prevent and deal with security breaches, either involving deadly weapons or bullying. Some problems like bullying may appear to be petty and they are ignored in most academic institutions.
However they are serious problems that should not be ignored, since they have high psychological impacts on the victims. When students can feel safe in the school environment, they will look forward to going to school to learn. After all, these students spend most of their time in schools, and once they feel that they are unsafe, they are likely to drop out of school. Family problems. According to Gail (211-216), it is evident that family problems is a major factor that contributes to dropping out of school. It is a very sensitive issue considering that there is a limitation to which strangers may involve themselves in family matters.
It is however imperative that problems such as violence and abuse are reported to the authorities, and these will be addressed through the relevant laws. These problems cannot be condoned, since once students are not comfortable in their own homes, it will be difficult for them to concentrate in class and learn. Other family issues such as parental and child conflict should be addressed through dialog, either between the school administration and the individual families, or through counseling by qualified professionals. This dialog will enable the underlying problems to be identified and solved, so that the children may stay in school.
Early pregnancy. This problem is best solved by preventing the issue, rather than addressing it after it has occurred. The young people should be told about the consequences of early sex, especially unsafe sex. These students should be made to understand that in addition to the risk of pregnancy, there is also a risk of contracting STIs such as HIV/AIDS. However, one a girl becomes pregnant, she should be allowed to stay in school until the time to give birth, after which she is given a break. She should resume school after giving birth, as this is very important.
Counselors and parents should play a crucial role in guiding girls who are undergoing this experience. The government should also set up funds to help girls who are pregnant and do not have the resources to take care of the baby, and go back to school. Facilities for the handicapped. The government has a crucial role of ensuring that there are learning facilities that will take care of the needs of students who face either physical or mental disabilities. There should also be enough teachers who have been trained on how to take care of the needs of these students.
This will ensure that these students learn just like their peers, and that they have equal opportunities in life. Value of diplomas. The stakeholders in the educational sector have a crucial role to play in publicizing the value of the high school diplomas. There should be regular talks between these stakeholders and the students regarding the issue. Students should be made to understand that although the modern world has become very competitive, it is imperative that they obtain at least the high school diploma.
The reason is that the diploma acts as a platform in acquiring further employment opportunities and joining a profession. Employment. The government should enforce the laws that bar the employment of young people who are below the legal age. It should also hold regular forums with employers regarding employment of young people with a view of regulating the hours that they work. The employers should also be made to insist that young employees pursue education, since this will be the platform for promotions and advancement in the careers.
This will enable that the young people who work have enough time to study. Conclusion and recommendation. The stakeholders in the education sector should join hands in ensuring the the drop out rate drastically reduces, and that each child knows the value of education. The solutions to the problems that have been discussed above should be implemented, so that this objective may be achieved. Above all, students should be made to understand that the high school diploma is a platform for opportunities in life.