One major issue that schools are currently facing and seeing little or no improvement with is effectively dealing with student absenteeism and truancy. My school, SMK S.T Xaviers is no exceptional school from this problem. Truancy according to Oxford Advance Learners’ Dictionary is ‘the practice of staying away from school without permission’. Teachers have been trying very hard to motivate their pupils to come to school every day to study and enjoy coming to school even to the extent of caning those who play truant every now and then. They also explain and remind them that truancy may lead to bullies, snatch thieves, robbery, cigarettes, drugs, gangsterism and crime but it has fallen into deaf ears. I realize that the issue cannot be handled and solved therefore I agree that students in school like to play truant in school.
Truant cases has been for many years but recently it has become more serious as the number of cases rises sharply either those who truant alternately or continuously. Class teachers play a very important role in this case. They take attendance of pupils every day in and out of the school ‘without fail’. The problem is, they fail to take attendance every day. The reasons are, teachers go out for courses and nobody to take over the class attendance.
Secondly, there are a few teachers who take pupils attendance lightly, which means the attendances are not taken every day. Teachers who take attendance every day but do not bother about pupils who are absent, whilst no follow-up with their parents or care-taker on informing them about their children’s absents. When the class teacher fail to take actions, the discipline master in this school could not perform my duty perfectly in the school. Reminders have been given every now and then but it has fallen on deaf ears.
The second party that plays the ultimate role is the family. The family factor in my school include lack of guidance or parental supervision, domestic violence, poverty, and more. Parentally condoned absence is especially influential, as it reinforces the lack of consequences for irresponsible and unwanted behavior on the part of the child. Parental
attitudes to education are crucial to schools success in keeping children in school; often times a parent’s condonation of truancy is construed as the parent’s not valuing education. It is worth noting that many parents indiscriminately sanction an absence by sending a note or making a call. Schools should be able to enlist the support of parents when it comes to tackling truancy. When a parent doesn’t value education, wants their child to help them out at home or believes their child has good reasons for staying away, the task is altogether more challenging.
One of the common causes of truancy and disruptive behavior in children is the influence of friends and peers. Many times these peers are seen encouraging truancy as a status-seeking activity or as a way of joining in or blending in. The child’s natural instinct to want to be a part of a larger crowd or group dynamic will take over, even if they are taught better habits. Often times this same dynamic is prevalent in the face of any resistance the child may put forth, prompting teasing or goading the child into truanting.
Closely related to the issue of a child’s relationship with school is the matter of bullying. Bullying is a prime component in the making of an unsafe school environment; if a child does not feel safe at school, or on the way to school, they are much more likely to become truant. Bullying occurs for many reasons and it goes beyond the one isolated instance of harassment either because of teachers’ inability to control, or problems arising from the child’s own personality or learning abilities. A parent might say they’re keeping their child off school because they’re being bullied. The school might call it truancy.
To curb truancy, initiatives must be taken. Prevention is the key. Early intervention can tackle the problem. Students who often skip classes should be given counseling. Parents should check with teachers and school authorities periodically to monitor students’ attendance. Police patrols will also deter repeat offenders.