1.1 Background to the Study
The Nigerian education system has recently come under series of attack and criticism owing to student’s poor performance in academics; deviant behaviour manifested among secondary school students who exhibit violent attacks on other fellow students and to an extent their teachers, destroys school property, breaches school rules and regulation, loiter around aimlessly in the street and the school environment, and ultimately engages in crime of all sorts.
Consequently, government at all levels have continued to decry the poor academic performance of secondary school students in recent time particularly in external examinations, the ill-equipped tertiary institutions which churn out half-baked graduates yearly in their increasing number who hardly fits into any job description in this our dynamic society. Much to our charging, many researchers and stakeholders in the education industry have noted with displeasure that this menace is not unconnected with truancy and other mal-adaptive behaviour inherent among school children. Thus, amongst this many influences that contributes to the academic performance of secondary school students, truancy is one of the core values to be examined.
This explains the object of this topic, which seeks to x-ray and analyze the effect of truancy on students’ academic performance in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Akano and Olarenwaju (2011) noted that this phenomenun called truancy in a worldwide cankerworm that has been destroying many students irrespective of gender, and has rendered so many useless, with the cumulative effects on their families and even countries. They also observed that unfortunately in Nigeria, there is no penalty for truancy and neither are there handbooks of policies and procedures in schools.
According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, truancy is any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. The term typically describes absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate “excused” absences, such as one related to medical condition.
Anonymous (2012) truancy is traditionally defined as an absence from school that is not excused by the parent/guardian or the school. However, he noted that while traditional definition emphasizes the unexcused nature of a students’ absence, truancy prevention and intervention efforts are increasingly focusing more broadly on student attendance, since numerous excused absence can result in a similar set of negative outcomes as numerous unexcused absences (e. Poorer academic performance and decreased attachment to school).
Akano and Olarenwaju (2011) opined that when trying to define truancy, it is important to look at two dimensions of absenteeism; missing full days of school and missing some classes. A truant could be a student who runs away from school to roam about the streets and later return home at the end of the day without achieving any goal. A teacher may also be a truant. This is because most teachers have other jobs they attend to instead of going to school; they end up in their private business in order to make more money to support their family (Igbo, 2006).
Anonymous (2012) observed that truancy has been identified as an early warning sign that students are headed for potential delinquent activity, social isolation or educational failure via suspension, expulsion, or dropout. He further noted that truancy is connected to both lack of commitment to school and low achievement rates, which are clear risk factors for substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, and school dropout.
James (2012) enunciated that students absence are rising, despite schools taking a hard line on truancy and that the more schools improve methods of detection, the more children workout better method of deception.
Jamila (2012) reiterated that truancy has the potential to cause a decline in the economy of our nation and therefore be viewed as the serious problem it is.
Parents are not left out in the basket of blame. A lot of parents have abdicated their responsibilities to their maids, nannies and most often to the school. They believe in the fallacy that their duties are completed when they provide food for children and offer them opportunities for formal education. However Nwangwu (1996) opined that the family is the first window of the child to the world and should nurture the child from deviating from the vital social roles.
The personality and leadership style of the teacher speaks volume in child up bringing. Teachers inculcate vital values equip the students to contribute meaningfully towards the attainment of national needs, instill in them the spirit of self reliance, self-pride, self actualization and ensure that all programmes should have a built-in mechanism in which national aspirations are affirmed. (Eluu, 2005). Regrettably, these teachers are not doing the above listed task.
Very often, students come to school totally unprepared for life in the school setting and leave the school premises before dismissal. This has actually posed a problem in our society as students are mostly seen at the market, beer parlour, and places of gambling during school hours. And at the end revert to examination malpractice. (Jones, 1998). As a result, it is timely that a critical examination of the effects and possible solution be investigated.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The incidence of truancy among secondary school students in Nigerian are on the increase as it make the headlines of our national dailies on a recurrent basis. The fact that a large proportion of Nigerian secondary school students are roaming the streets on school hours, engaging in delinquent behaviours and a drift into sexual immoral act that culminate into poor performance in exam which raises fears and curiosity as to what might be the cause. This tends to constitute a problem inspite of the series of palliative measures meted out by government and private sector alike for the resuscitation of the education sector.
Although as it were, various factors have been adduced to students’ poor performance in examination, the major problem has been that truancy have taken its toll on student and the failed attempts of the school/parents to checkmate their activities. Thus, reflecting on the effect of the so called “Absenteeism”, the need to correct the existing imbalance and decay and put the education system on the path of meritorious achievement is therefore compelling. This raises the question of what are the effects of truancy on student performance and palpable solution to realize the potentials of the sector. This calls for new thoughts and initiatives, which is the essence of this project.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
This research is wholly undertaken to examine the effects of truancy on academic performance of secondary school students’ in Onicha Local Government Area. Consequently, this work will attempt to identify the following:-
- To determine how truancy lead to low academic achievement.
- To examine how truants are exposed to drug abuse and cultism.
- To find out why truant are at a greater risk of expulsion or dropping out than their peers.
- To examine the relationship between crime and truancy.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study is foremost important because it would bridge the yawning gap in the existing state of knowledge about the contemporary truancy situation in secondary schools in Onicha L.G.A in particular and Nigeria in general. Thus school administrators would be exposed to options on how to counter truancy and keep the child in the school for effective teaching and learning.
It would strengthen the effort and measures that would be advanced in the future towards solving the problems of truancy in Nigeria by the ministry of education.
It is hoped that this piece of work will form the backbone in the future for the nation’s policy makers to derive sound principles, methodology and measures to foster and encourage brilliance performance in academic through effective learning and attendance at school.
This study will serve both as a redirection of course of action with regard to eradication of truancy and a reference work on the approaches to end absenteeism in school for future researchers.
Both the teachers and the students will be in a better position to understand how their activities could affect teaching and learning, and thus remedy the worse situation.
1.5 Scope of the Study
This project work focuses on the effects of truancy on academic performance of secondary school students. It also focused on strategies to reduce truancy. This study is limited to secondary school students in Onicha L.G.A.
1.6 Research Question
The following research questions are formulated to guide this study;
- How does truancy lead to low academic achievement?
- In what ways are truants exposed to drug abuse and cultism?
- Why are truants at a greater risk of expulsion or dropping out than their peers?
- What is the relationship between crime and truancy?
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