INFLUENCE OF TRUANCY ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
Background to the Study
Educationis a combination of deliberate and purposeful acts and activities with formative and intervention effect on the behavior and character of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which a society consciously transmits its accumulated stock of knowledge; skills and intentional effort usually focus in part on character development, behavior modification and value’s orientation especially among the youths of the nation. However, in recent times, there are unintentional, visible and not so visible distortions and aberrations in the character and behavior of the youths which are reflected in the pattern of student’ classroom behavior. If unchecked, such behavior may constitute impediments to meaningful classroom learning, school growth and development. Prominent among such despicable behavior is truancy among secondary school students. Truancy is not a new problem but historically, present problem that has over the last decades received new found attention as the lack of school attendance and its link with student delinquency has become more clearly identified.
Truancy is a product of combinations of social, economic and attitudinal factors which invariably reflect in students’ academic performances and challenges the competence and resources of school counselors (Anima Sahun, 2003). It is noted that student who stay away from school without permission will not only be left out in the learning process but they may also probably end up engaging inantisocial behavioursuch as drug abuse, gangsterism, bullying, alcohol consumption, free and unregulated sex, gambling and loitering with their negative consequences and experience. Further, playing truant is a discipline problem with strong challenge to the resources, facilities and expertise on the school counseling services and its curricular structure (Nawaz, 2005).
It is a system which attaches little importance to individuality. The ways in which children exhibit their truancy are many. An example can be cited in Okutu, Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu state where students’ usually go to the bush to search for snails, killing rabbits and collecting fruits, going to hidden places without any purpose. Some find their way to the river to swim while others engage in petty jobs to get money for buying snacks, minerals, ice cream etc. some even engage in secret love that always make them to leave the school premises. There are some students’ who cannot bear or remain in corrective atmosphere at home or in the school, such student will have to explore other places to relax and satisfy their curiosity. Obviously, such students’ will be truants in the school.
A truant can also be described as the person that stays away from school without good reasons. He or she is irregular at school attendance for he finds other places more attractive than that school. It stands that truancy is one of the offences which students in institutions of learning commit. From research work carried out it was discovered that truancy is of varying degree institutions of learning and it is comparatively greater in the secondary schools than the high institutions of learning.
In the secondary schools, truants can be labeled as poverty prone and at risk students who are faced with a number of educational challenges which require the building of counselor’s professional capacity to prevent its negative consequences to students and learning. Usually some students’ have high rate of absenteeism, poor academic performance, adjustment problems, lack of interest in schools and poor attitude to school work and learning. Such students’ need the assistance of professional counselors so as to cope with the academic and social problems and challenges associated with schooling. The persistence and grooving phenomenon of truancy among secondary school students suggest the need to build the professional capacity of school counselors so as to mitigate the negative effects of truancy among secondary school students. The magnitude or prevalence of truancy remains a factor yet to be thoroughly examined among secondary school students. Related to the prevalence of truancy are factors suspected to predispose students to truancy. Previous studies (Gesinde, 2005; Okwakpam, 2012; Igwe, 2013) have investigated the causes of truancy visàvis student academic performance. Such studies left unanswered the vital questions about the prevalence of truancy and factors which predispose student to truancy. Answers to these questions are pertinent to understanding truancy and improving school facilities and guidance and counseling services to eliminate truancy among school students.
Truancy predisposes students to dropping out of school as students often demonstrate a pattern of increased absence from school over a period of time. Nwana (2004) explained that truancy is an act of intentionally absenting of oneself from school without permission, leaving without authorization and dodging of specific classes. It has been reported that many factors are suspected to facilitate truancy among students. Among such factor is lack of qualified teachers, lack of teaching and learning materials, and lack of dedication on the part of teachers, home factor (marital adjustment and broken homes, lack of affection, disability of parents). It was established that, to understand the problem of truancy, it is essential to understand the causes; these causes were grouped into four categories such as students’ personal and psychological factors and school climate.
Williams (2000) observed that truancy has interfered adversely with students’ academic performance as well as their moral standard. Inadequate guidance and counseling services in schools has been identified as one major factors responsible for an increasing rate of truancy among students in secondary schools and because of the many potentials of truancy to derail set educational objective of the students and the school and in view of the short and long term impact of truancy on students’ learning and personal development.
On the academic performance of secondary school students’ in Nsukka Local Government of Enugu state, a good number of factors have influenced student academic performance which are identified as including classroom management, quality of teaching staff, family, socioeconomic status, lack of teaching facilities, inadequate student discipline, lack of student commitment, emotional problems, curriculum contents, learning situation, inadequate teacher instruction and not enough parental involvement.
The researcher focuses his investigation on the perceptions of students and teachers on the causes of poor academic performance among secondary school students’ in Nsukka local government of Enugu state, Nigeria.
Statement of the Problem
The school has been established as the agent of the society to mould the habits, interest, attitudes and feelings of children and transmit the societal norms, culture, values and traditions from one generation to another. Despite this, some students still do not attend school classes. Many of our youths now run away from schools while in many of the cases, the parents believe they are attending school classes. While they are away from school, they exercise freedom in engaging in a lot of juvenile delinquencies like fighting and drug abuse. This situation in our schools is highly worrisome. Truancy is a problem because the absent students cannot benefit from the various programmes that the school offers. Effects of truancy have been reported to include lower academic achievements, delinquent and criminal activities. It has been established that truancy is cog in the wheel of teaching learning.
For sometimes now, the school system has been bedeviled by a number of problems. These problems affect instruction, administration and overall performance of students. It also affects academic performance in both internal and external examination. Among these problems are truancy, bullying, fighting, rape, sagging, cultism and so on that have affected teaching and learning adversely and make the learning environment no longer interesting to both the teacher and the student.
Truancy poses a serious threat to learning in most schools; the school on the other hand does not seem to be able to cope with the problem because no sufficient attempt has been made to reach its root. One clear fact about this issue is the fact that there is a growing tendency for schools children to be involved in social vices such as stealing, smoking etc.
It is the concern of this work therefore to look into how truancy influences academic performance of secondary school students in Nsukka Local Government Area.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of truancy on academic performance of secondary school students in Nsukka Local Government. Specifically, the study is to: examines:
1. determine to whether the acts of truancy exist among secondary school students
2. examine the causes of truancy in secondary schools
3. examine the effects of truancy on the academic performance of students
4. determine the roles the teacher, parents, school authorities and government play towards the reduction of truancy
Significance of the Study
The usefulness of this research work in the educational system cannot be overemphasized. If the result of this study is properly utilized, it is going to be beneficial to the students, teachers, parents and government.
The research work will help to educate the upcoming students on the consequences of truancy if they are involved in it. The student carrying out this research study needed the result of the research to fulfill the graduation requirements. It will help the parents to understand the need for adequate parental care on school children. It will intimate the teachers and other school on the strategies to employ in order to reduce the incidence of truancy in schools. It will also help the government to design relevant policies and legislations to curb the menace of truancy.
Scope of the Study
The study was based on some randomly selected secondary schools in Nsukka Local government Area of Enugu state. The scope of the study is delimited to determine the “influence of truancy on the academic performance of secondary school students in the area”. The influence of truancy would be studied as my independent variable with the following sub variables; causes, effect, factors, solutions.
Finally, the study would be delimited to 200 students from 5 selected secondary schools in Nsukka Local Government Area.
The following research questions were posited to guide the study;
1. What acts constitute truancy in secondary schools in Nsukka local government area of Enugu state?
2. What factors are responsible for the act of truancy in secondary schools in Nsukka local government area?
3. What are the effects of truancy on the academic performance of students in Nsuka local government area?
4. What roles have the teachers, parents and other bodies to play to reduce truancy and proper solutions in schools?.