Student-Related Factors Causing School Dropout in Public Senior Secondary Schools in Bauchi State, Nigeria
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Education is an important instrument that significantly affects the life of people and empowers them to be useful to themselves and society in general. The Federal Government of Nigeria embraced several educational policies to facilitate access and participation in secondary education. Despite these efforts, there is worrying trend in school dropout among students in government secondary schools. This study aimed to examine the student-related factors that causes school drop out in public senior secondary schools in Katagum Local Government. The objectives of the study include to: examine the influence of poor academic performance leading to students drop out in public senior secondary schools, establish the influence of peer group pressure causing students drop out in public senior secondary schools, and to determine the influence of school attendance causing students’ drop out in senior secondary schools in Katagum local government. The study adopted Finn’s (1989) School Alienation Theory. A mixed method research was used. The target population of the study was 1753, which comprised 15 principals, 291 teachers, 1378 Senior Secondary II students and 69 students who had dropped out all from the 15 senior secondary schools in the study area. Purposive sampling was used to select 3 out of 15 principals and simple random sampling technique was adopted to select 58 teachers and 276 Senior Secondary II students. Snowballing was used to select 14 students who had dropped out of school. The study used questionnaire for teachers and students while interview schedule for principals and drop out students. Piloting was done to ascertain the reliability of the instruments. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics guided by statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 20. And the results are presented in frequency tables percentages and charts. Qualitative data was analyzed and presented thematically .The findings of the study revealed that, factors such as poor comprehension of subject, lack of interest in learning, poor achievement, fear of repetition, motivation from peers, drug abuse, bullying, early marriage, chronic absenteeism, illness and truancy contributed immensely to secondary school students’ dropout in Katagum Local Government. Based on the findings, the study concluded that poor academic performance, peer group pressure and school attendance were potential factors that caused school dropout in Katagum Local government. Therefore, the study recommended that, the forced repetition for weaker students should be abolished. School authorities should strengthen guidance and counseling unit in the schools to offer quality services that can lead to desirable, acceptable and responsible behavior. And the Bauchi State Ministry of education in collaboration with Nigerian Drugs and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) should keep in lightening students on the effects and consequences of drug abuse. The research findings would benefit all educational stakeholders in Bauchi State and will help them in developing ways of minimizing the cases of dropout among students and improve access and participation of students in public senior secondary schools in Katagum Local Government and Bauchi State at large.