Basic Human Right
2.1 Literature Review
Education has various facets. It is not only a basic human right and a necessity for the people but also branches out to developing strong roots of a nation.(Bilquees, 2004) For policy makers, it is the reason behind endless debates whereas for the citizens it is a basic human right. Education as a component of development therefore plays an extremely significant role as it affects each individual in its own way (Keyzer & Van Wesenbeeck, 2006).
However, with so many other more critical concerns, such as health, defense, international relations, trade etc., it is understandable that education might often be sidestepped in the process of progress. Education is more than just providing schools, staff and the essential apparatus. Rather it is about creating a educated, broad minded and proficient society that is socially, culturally, politically and environmentally awake. It is not simply the completion of a set number of pre-assigned years fulfilling the criteria of being educated but instead is the appearance of a community that can develop themselves in a long-lasting and sustainable manner. In Pakistan, though provision of education is stated as one of the many priorities of the state, in reality it does not lay on the top most tiers where it should in fact belong. In fact others such as defense, trade deficits, internal politics, natural disasters and lately terrorism among many others are taking front line attention. Furthermore, in the race to achieve desired statistics in order to compete with other countries in the developing world, what goes on after the child has enrolled into a class is largely overlooked. Rural areas which host the majority of the population of the country are still a long way from completing all levels of education and joining the mainstream of Pakistan especially due to the high rates of drop out in these areas where simply getting admission in an institution is not enough to ensure that education is being gained (Kamran, 2017)
One of the main reasons for low literacy is the dropout of students at primary level in Pakistan. “A dropout is a student, who leaves the school for any reason before the completion of the educational program and without being transferred to any other school. In other words a dropout is a child who leaves the school before completing the educational stages in which he was enrolled”(Farooq Joubish & Ashraf Khurram, 2011)
In Pakistan children are starting primary school in greater numbers than ever before but dropout rates are significant and lead to low levels of primary school completion in the country.(UNESCO, 2017)
In the universal point of view, it is an undeniable fact that the progress of a nation is highly reliant on the education of their citizens. It is widely recognized that illiteracy is the most important reason contributing to poverty alleviation. Education plays an essential role and has a cross cutting impact on all aspects of human life. It is an imperative asset for human and economic development. Dropping out is defined by National Center for Education Statistics as leaving school without completing a high school education or equivalent diploma such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.(UNESCO, 2017)
Quality education can play vibrant role in competence, social and economic growth of a country. In developing countries less concentration is paid to improve quality of education and stipulation of education to people belongs to any class. In this regard, a UNESCO report (2000) on the state of the world’s children, points out, that about one thirty million children in the developing world denied their right to education through Dropping out. In China dropout rate in rural schools is about 40 percent and the reason of dropout is that students are unhappy with their studies (Kingdom, Latif, Choudhary, & Hammayun, 2015)
In Asia situation is not different from other developing countries. A study in India researcher found the reasons of students‟ school dropouts, In India due to financial problems and expenses dropout rate is high. So students drop out their school to fulfill their financial needs(R. Uma Rani, 2011) . Students drop out their school to fulfill their financial needs. Another reason of students‟ dropouts is that some parents are not interested in education for their children.
In imperfect primary education system, lack of training in teaching staff, and parent teacher association are the major reasons of dropouts in Pakistan (Mohsin et al, 2004). Researcher stated that in Pakistan twenty seven million children does not entered in any school and seven million does not get primary education(Kingdom et al., 2015) .
Pakistan has high dropout rate, large number of students stop going to school without finishing their degree and the reason of dropout are corporal punishment, and this physical punishment is considered a beneficial method to make their students obedient. According to the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) Islamabad, a local (NGO) advocating the rights of children, 35,000 high school pupils in Pakistan dropout of the education system each year due to corporal punishment. In South Asian countries Pakistan ranked on top of list, where only 10% of population terminating their 12 years of schooling(Khan, Azhar, & Shah, 2011). In Pakistan only 2% of budget is dedicated to education sector. This situation is not satisfactory for education system of a country. “Dropping out, with its many implications, remains a common term to use in describing the failure of schools and their students.” (Dorn, 1993)
The reforms program in the education sector is changing the educational situation in Pakistan, as the population who ever attended school was 61% in 2012-13 and 62% in 2014-15. The literacy rate at national level in 2015 was 60% (Male=70%, Female=40%) as compared to the 58% (Male=70%, Female=47%) in 2014. The literacy rates gap of 25% in urban (76%) and rural (51%) areas of the country and the gap of 21% between male and female literacy rates needs to be addressed efficiently and the equal opportunities be provided to the male and female population for bridging this gap. The literacy rate comparison among the provinces indicates that Punjab stands (63%) at the top position followed by Sindh (60%), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (53%) and Baluchistan (44%) at the lowest rank.(Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, 2015)
Projections of National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS) for the year 2015 have been used. For enrolment, adjusted net enrolment figures have been taken. According to NIPS projections, there are currently 51.17 million children in Pakistan between the ages of 5 and 16. Among this group, only 28.53 million children attend an educational institution (government or private), leaving 22.64 million children out of school.(UNESCO, 2017)
There is no single cause of primary school dropping out but is an array of causes that lead them towards dropping out(Farooq, 2016). Different people and agencies defined it in different ways. “Dropout is defined as a pupil, who was enrolled in the beginning of the school year and has left before the end of the school year and was not enrolled elsewhere”.(Farooq, n.d.)
The dropping out phenomenon is a premature disengagement or termination of a student from education. It is a serious concern for the school authorities as well as for students(Farooq, 2016) .
The dropout is an individual who withdraws from school without any completion certificate (Orr, 1987). A student at risk of dropping out is a student who is in danger of leaving school before graduation (Levy, 1991). There is no agreed upon uniform definition of dropout (Hamby, 1989; Pallas, 1987). Different people give different definitions of dropouts. All these definitions lead the researcher to the fact that the dropout is a student who was enrolled in school and has left before completion of primary school education without any intimation to the school.
Identifying the reasons contributing in decision making for leaving school is the basic key to respond this serious problem. It is very difficult to exclusively identify the factor which is the main cause of dropping out because there is not only a single factor but this phenomenon is prejudiced by an array of different causes related to school, family, community settings and the student himself (Remberger, 2001).
Different researchers and experts identified different causes for different situations. They reported different demographic factors as causes of dropouts. The most common factor associated with dropping out is individual’s family belongingness (Hahn, Danzberger, & Lefkowitz, 1987). Students belonging to ethnic and tribal minorities are more likely to pass through the experience of dropping out (Bowers, Sprott, & Taff, 2013).
The community in which the student lives has an effect on his/her decisions and trends directly or indirectly. It has a piercing effect on the individuals of that society. It differs in nature because the rural and urban community has different sort of resources of engagement for the student. The libraries, mosques, markets, theaters, sports and other job opportunities affect the individuals. Peers are the best predictors for school dropout phenomenon. They affect a lot on the school going children towards their verdict for dropping out(Agency, 2008).
According to research, it is not yet possible to gauge this effect that how much it affects. The common observation is that dropouts have usually such friends who have already dropped out (Rumberger, 2001). The community for which the dropout is a part influences a lot to shape his decision for termination of the education cycle. Academically marginalized students are usually affected by such storms. Rural and urban communities are different in their intensity of influence on the dropouts. Urban community has different attention diverters like theaters, museums, sports and job opportunities as compared to the rural communities. Non availability of spiritual orientation in schools also becomes the cause of school leaving.
A school is a basic unit and hub of all the activities for the training and teaching of students. By birth children are not failures but it is the school to fail them. Unfortunately in some circumstances it affects a lot on the decision process for leaving school. Dissatisfaction with educators, poor interest in school, lack of interest in the school activities, poor academic environment and poor academic achievements are the predictors of dropouts (Farooq, 2016). School experience is the most common reason for some dropouts (Hahn et al., 1987).
Different researchers reveal that when students like their school they show better performance in studies and as a result less dropout. When they are not satisfied and facing problem their performance goes poorer and poorer and result is dropout. In a study conducted by(Cathy Hammond & Jay Smink, 2007), 34% feel that they could not get along with their teachers, and 25% thought that they are not part of the school system and functioning. Lack of access to primary education, tribal, ethnic, social groups and minority belongingness are the major hurdles in enrollment. Generally, not only enrollment rate is low but also disparities are noticed across the provinces, genders and urban rural belongings (Dr.Shami & Hussain, 2005).
Above and beyond demographics, community and school related characteristics there are also family related characteristics which basis a student to leave school. Parental commitment to education and education stages are important determinants of dropout rate. Poverty is a basic cause of dropout problem (Hahn et al., 1987). It stands out as the most striking of all the characteristics associated with the propensity to drop out of school. It along with cultural differences plays a most important role in shaping of dropouts (L. R. Gay,Geoffrey E. Mills, 2012). Literature on youth at risk witnessed that low parental education level and low income have significant effect on the decisions of potential dropouts.
Family factors affect student’s rate of dropout. In different societies divorce rate, single parent family and parents’ poverty rate are increased. In such situations children are not being expected for their graduation and negative attitude towards school is usually exhibited by the family members(Cathy Hammond & Jay Smink, 2007).
It is a common phenomenon in the world that the dropouts are not passed through any exit interview. So the real causes according to the dropouts are not documented regularly. It is also hard to have access to the dropouts in any locality because they usually absorb in the community and are not accumulated anywhere. To trace them is difficult so the available studies are usually on the other stakeholders rather than the dropouts. In Pakistani context there was hardly any available study that has directly been conducted on dropouts to explore them qualitatively. It was highly needed to explore the dropouts qualitatively and document their voices that they articulate regarding their decision of dropping out from primary schools without completion of their primary school education. This study is unique in a sense that the dropouts in person are explored and their voices are not only documented regarding the factors leading to their dropping out but also their expectation from school to prevent at risk students from dropping out.