An Investigation on the Impact of Absolute Poverty on Attendance of Students of Secondary Schools in Zone 1 of Mauritius

Table of Contents 1. 0 Introduction3 1. 1 Statement of the Problem4 1. 2 significance of study6 1. 3 Objectives of the Study7 1.

4 Research Questions7 1. 4 Research Hypotheses7 2. Literature Review10 3. Research Methodology13 3. 1 Research Design13 3.

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2 Population and Sampling14 3. 3 Data Collection Method and technique14 3. 4 Questionnaire Design14 3. 6 Ethical Consideration16 3. 7 Data Analysis16 3. 8.

Limitation of the study16 4. Data analysis, Findings and Discussion17 4. 1 Response Rate17 4. 2Demographic characteristics of the respondents17 4. 2.

1Age of the respondents17 4. 2. 2Class level of the respondents18 . 2. 3Family status18 4.

2. 4Monthly income19 4. 2. 5Responsible party of respondents19 4. 2.

6Education level of Responsible Party (Guardian)20 4. 3Home Environment20 4. 3. 1Reaction of guardians to wards not attending classes21 4. 3.

2 Siblings also going to school21 4. 3. 3 Running water and toilet/bathroom facilities22 4. 3. 4 A decent place to study at home22 4.

3. 5School materials23 4. 3. 6 Other factors in the home environment24 4. 4 Attitude of the students to schooling25 4.

4. 1 CPE Results25 4. 4. 2Attending school26 4. 4. 3Misbehaviour27 4.

4. 4Importance of passing examinations28 4. . 5Peer Pressure28 4. 5 Hypothesis Testing29 5.

0 Conclusion and recommendations37 6. 0 References43 7. 0 Appendix45 1. 0 Introduction For years it has been recognised that school students must attend classes in order to be successful. There is no doubt that low attendance at school is a recipe for school failure and a precursor to dropping out of school. It is widely believed in academia, that consistent class attendance is a key factor in the academic success of students.

Several studies have quantitatively confirmed this belief, revealing that absenteeism negatively impacts student academic performance.

Put differently, improving performance is a critical goal and attendance is a key element in achieving that goal. So, the key ingredient for ensuring success in school is helping children get into the habit of attending school every day. Researchers have repeatedly identified low attendance as a signal that students are headed off track academically and have confirmed that poor attendance puts low-performing students at greater risk of educational failure. The home background of students is the single most important factor influencing educational outcomes and poverty is strongly correlated with a range of other home background variables.

It is widely agreed that the relationship between poverty and education operates in two directions: poor people are often unable to obtain access to an adequate education, and without an adequate education people are often constrained to a life of poverty.

However, before addressing the interrelationships between poverty and education, it is important to discuss the concept of poverty. Mauritius does not have a national poverty line. However, on the basis of household survey data, poverty related indicators can be derived.

The analysis of data focuses mainly on poverty measurement in monetary terms based on data collected from Household Budget Surveys. The poverty line can be an absolute poverty line which is the cost of the basic needs of a household in terms of food, housing, clothing and other essentials for living. The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) has placed all families with a monthly income of less than Rs 6 200 under the “absolute poverty” category.

Poverty is not simply the absence of financial resources. According to Amartya Sen (2001), poverty is the lack of capability to function effectively in society.

Inadequate education can thus be considered a form of poverty. Absolute poverty – the absence of adequate resources – hampers learning in developing countries through poor nutrition, health, home circumstances (lack of books, lighting or places to do homework) and parental education. It discourages enrolment and survival to higher grades, and also reduces learning in schools. Is low attendance and absenteeism among secondary students a problem in Mauritius? The answer is in the affirmative since the Ministry of Education has on several occasions ‘threatened’ to take drastic disciplinary measures against defaulters.

Moreover, the Ministry has implemented a measure “SMS Alert System” to inform parents by means of an SMS on their mobile phone for all absences of their wards. And, there is a general feeling that the problem is more acute for students coming from poor socioeconomic background. Many studies have come up with results confirming that groups with the highest poverty rates are more to be chronically absent. Similarly, students from low-income families had lower attendance than their more affluent peers. In other words, chronic absenteeism is most prevalent among low-income students.

Are students living in absolute poverty regularly absent themselves from school? This study will try to come up with some answers, but not for the whole island of Mauritius. For administrative purposes, the Ministry of Education has divided the island into four zones and Zone 1 consists of the three northern districts, namely Port Louis, Pamplemousses and Riviere du Rempart. This paper will attempt to provide some answers for secondary students of Zone 1 as regard to the regular absences of those coming from families living in absolute poverty. 1. 1 Statement of the Problem Education can reduce poverty in a number of ways.

Firstly, more educated people are more likely to get jobs, are more productive, and earn more.

More and better education improves a poor country’s economic growth and thereby generates economic opportunities and incomes. Thirdly, education (particularly of girls) brings social benefits that improve the situation of the poor, such as lower fertility, improved health care of children, and greater participation of women in the labour market. Throughout the world it has been found that the probability of finding employment rises with higher levels of education, and that earnings are higher for people with higher levels of education.

A better educated household is less likely to be poor. The impact of education on earnings and thus on poverty works largely on employability, how much one is educated and trained.

The less one is prepared for the world of work, the less is the probability of getting secured employment and the more one has to live in poverty. It therefore implies that the fight against poverty can only be won through academic success. But students must be present in school in order to benefit from the academic programme in its entirety (DeKalb, 1999; Rothman, 2001).

Non-attendance is an early warning sign for future problems that negatively affect students’ achievement. Or, absenteeism is detrimental to students’ achievement, promotion, self-esteem, and employment potential (Boloz, 1983; DeKalb, 1999).

Students who miss school fall behind peers in the classroom, which in turn increases the likelihood that that they will become at-risk students and will drop out of school (DeKalb, 1999). Students with higher rate of absences, have the lowest academic achievement rates, and are more likely to drop out of school which indicates that there s a relationship between student attendance and student achievement (U. S. Department of Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2001). Students with low attendance often end up dropping out of school and put themselves at a long-term disadvantage in becoming productive citizens. A focus on student absenteeism may be one solution for improved achievement.

With the ‘No Child Left Behind’ policy much emphasis has been placed on instruction and teaching methods and now schools are looking at ways to improve student performance by focusing on attendance.

Student absenteeism affects school achievement (Johnston, 2000; Roby, 2004). Nettles (2005) found that a student’s daily attendance is critical to a student’s success and educational progress. King (2000) determined that student absenteeism may be the most important issue facing schools today. Studies have been conducted and replicated that indicate that the higher the percentage of absenteeism, the lower the student academic performance average. Students absenteeism is a community problem and everyone must work together to combat the problem of student absences (Epstein & Sheldon, 2002).

Improving the educational attainment of children who grow up in poverty is important for the individual child, to ensure that they do not grow up to bring up children in poverty themselves. 1. 2 significance of study If children are not in school, they will not learn. Improving school attendance improves success in school. Hence, particular attention has to be paid to increase attendance among students coming from poor families and to lower the dropout rate of secondary students from poor socio-economic background.

The most important key to children’s academic success is to have them attending school on a regular basis.

Literature provides with many reasons to why students do not attend school. For instance, Corville-Smith, Ryan, Adams, & Dalicandro, 1998 and Gleason & Dynarski, 2002 have provided with these reasons, among others: • family background and relationships, • past school performance, • personal characteristics, • school characteristics • home dynamics such as impoverished living conditions, • frequent home relocations, Lack of child supervision and other family issues are often related to non-attendance. Mauritius is not exempted from those problems and the reasons listed above can also apply to the secondary students coming from poor families as many pockets of absolute poverty have been identified throughout the island. The problem of absenteeism is at all levels in Mauritius though the problem is more acute for children coming from poor socioeconomic background. As a consequence, the students from poor families are regularly absent and this has a very adverse effect on their performance.

Hence, this study would explore the different factors which impede the students of poor families to attend schools and as a result it can bring several views to improve the situation and ameliorate the schools’ attendance. 1. 3 Objectives of the Study The objectives of this study are, 1. To investigate on how absolute poverty affect students’ attendance 2. To explore the effect of poverty on students’ attendance 3. To find the reason why students from poor families keep away from school.

4. To propose recommendations to policy makers to address the problem 1. 4Research Questions

This study came up with answers to these questions: 1. Is there a relationship between absolute poverty and school attendance? 2. How much do parents’ level of literacy and attitude to education affect attendance of their wards at school? 3.

How far does home environment affect attendance at school? 4. What is the impact of student’s negative attitude to school on his attendance? 5. To what extent does peer pressure have negative influence on school attendance? 1. 4Research Hypotheses In line with the research objectives and research questions, the following hypotheses were generated 1. 4. 1Main Hypothesis

H0 – There is no relationship between absolute poverty and school attendance H1 -There is a relationship between absolute poverty and school attendance.

1. 4. 1. 1 Sub-hypothesis 1: Difference in attendance between boys and girls from poor families. H0 -There is no difference between attendance of boys and that of girls coming from poor families.

H1 -There is a difference between attendance at school of boys coming from poor families and that of girls coming from poor families. 1. 4. 2. 2 Sub-hypothesis 2: Parents’ level of literacy H0 -Parents’ level of literacy do not affect attendance of their wards at school.

H1 -Parents’ level of literacy affects attendance of their wards at school.

1. 4. 2. 3 Sub-hypothesis 3: Parents’ attitude to education H0 -Parents’ attitude to education do not affect attendance of their wards at school. H1 -Parents’ attitude to education affect attendance of their wards at school. 1.

4. 2. 4 Sub-hypotheses 4: Home environment H0 -The non-availability of a decent study room does not affect attendance at school. H1 -The non-availability of a decent study room affects attendance at school. H0 -The absence of a toilet/bathroom does not affect attendance at school.

H1 -The absence of a toilet/bathroom affects attendance at school.

H0 -No help with studies at home does not affect attendance at school. H1 -No help with studies at home affects attendance at school. H0 -Lack of facilities like radio set, TV set, computer, Internet connection and newspapers do not affect attendance at school. H1 -Lack of facilities like radio set, TV set, computer, Internet connection and newspapers affects attendance at school. 4.

2. 2. 5 Sub-hypothesis 5: Student’s perception H0 -Student’s negative attitude to school does not impact on his attendance. H1 -Student’s negative attitude to school impacts on his attendance.

H0 -Punishment does not impact on attendance of students at school. H1 -Punishment impacts on attendance of students at school.

4. 2. 2. 6 Sub-hypothesis 6: Peer Pressure H0 -Peer pressure do not have negative influence on school attendance. H1 -Peer pressure has negative influence on school attendance. 2.

Literature Review Considering the importance of educational attainment to society, researchers have conducted many studies focusing on this issue. In 1962, Bertrand studied the social interaction between the family and the school social systems and its effect on absenteeism and on high school dropouts.

The most important determinants of low attendance and high school dropouts that he found were as follows: 1. Low socioeconomic status directly correlates with low attendance and high school dropouts. 2.

Students of parents with lower educational attainment are more likely to absent themselves regularly and not to complete their schooling. 3. Parents who place a low value on a school education transfer this low value to their children, thereby increasing their chances of playing truant and dropping out of the school system. 4.

Students who have lower grades and who have failed more classes possess a higher chance of developing negative attitude to studies and consequently absenting themselves regularly to eventually dropping out of the school system.

Literature is very rich with research work on poverty and education. Most of the findings of the researches carried out on education and poverty reveal a high degree of correlation between the two. More importantly, all literature reviewed agree partly or wholly to the findings of Bertrand (1962) listed above.

All research findings provided by literature will not be reproduced in this paper, but for illustration, a few are highlighted hereunder: Poverty’s effects on the emotional development of children have a negative impact on education. Some researches show that children from poor families experience emotional problems more often than non-poor children.

Emotions are connected to memory, which affect the capacity of children to grasp ideas, think and learn. This lack of emotional development interferes with language development, further preventing the development of higher-order thinking skills that assist with independent problem solving.

Children living in poverty may be fearful, which can be converted to aggression, irritability, and apathy, all of which have a negative effect on learning. And, that negative effect on learning eventually develops into reluctance to school. They start absenting themselves more frequently to finally drop out of the education system.

Poor children who attend school hungry perform more poorly on standardized tests compared to non-hungry children. Research indicates that nutrition impacts children’s cognitive ability and that poor nutrition retards physical growth, brain development, and cognitive function.

Chronic stress from lack of nutrition and a poor environment inhibit the cognitive development … Hence, poor children do not perform well in assessments resulting in their loss of interest in studies and schooling. Durden and Ellis (1995) controlled for student differences in background, ability and motivation, and reported a nonlinear effect of attendance on learning, that is, a few absences do not lead to poor grades but excessive absenteeism does. And, children coming from poor families are reported to be more frequently absent from classes.

Student’s attendance affects school achievement (Johnston, 2000; Roby, 2004).

Nettles (2005) found that a student’s daily attendance was critical to his/her success and educational progress. King (2000) determined that student absenteeism may be the most important issue facing schools today. Studies conducted and replicated indicate that the higher the percentage of absenteeism, the lower the student academic performance average. According to Schmidt (1983), absenteeism affects the students’ ability to get high scores in examinations; the students may fail and may not be promoted to the nest level. Repeating the same year level results in loss of interest in studies.

The students start keeping away from school and finally get off the school system. Children in poverty may not be ready for school because they miss out on things that help with the development of academic skills, such as books, computers, and other educational reading materials. They feel uneasy vis-a-vis their classmates, and develop a low self-esteem which turns out into a negative attitude to studies and eventually a negative attitude to school. They find an escape by keeping away from school. Ridge (2002) found that children living in low-income families were more likely to be socially excluded, or to exclude themselves within school.

They expressed concerns about not having the right clothes, particularly for non-uniform days. Even with school uniforms, they were concerned about having the ‘right’ shoes or trainers. Many young people whose families lived in poverty were unable to participate fully in school life, because their parents simply could not afford it. A main reason why children who live in poverty are regularly absent from school is because their parents cannot get or maintain jobs. The monthly income fluctuates and more than often makes it very difficult to provide school children with necessary school materials.

Additionally, many children who live in poverty live in a single-parent home, typically with their mother. Those children have less parental control, especially when the mother gives most of her time struggling hard to bring food. Moreover, that absence of parental control often leads to children being controlled by pressure exercised by peers. And, peers will guide them most of the time, to vices rather than to virtues. Why children stop ‘loving’ school and start to see it as something they are forced to attend? Literature review highlights another good reason – the way they feel they are treated in school.

There seems to be a great mismatch between the home environment of the children coming from poor socioeconomic background and the school environment. Worse, school does nearly nothing to make those children comfortable at school. Instead, they are unfairly treated for not having the necessary materials, be it reading books or training shoes, …. Next, there is a great disparity in the language used at home and that used in school. All these make the school environment uncomfortable, not to say hostile. Consequently, those children seek refuge somewhere outside school.

They absent themselves regularly to finally leave the school system. Children from poor families are less likely to describe their learning as fun. Instead, they find schooling as a punishment – to face the unfair treatment of their teachers for homework not completed, for unable to use the proper words in their expressions, to be the scapegoat for all misconduct and misbehaviour, to be bullied by classmates, to feel excluded from school activities for not having the required equipment, to be tagged with all sorts of labels because of low performance in assessments, ….

Thrupp’s (1999) detailed study of schools in New Zealand showed the many ways in which the context of disadvantage impacts on school life. Teachers have to spend more time on welfare issues, discipline and engaging children and parents; they face more difficulty planning and financing out-of-school activities such as school trips; more time has to be spent ensuring that pupils have access to the equipment needed for music, sports and so on.

The impact of family income on children’s ability to learn, even to acquire the language that allows them to learn, is now well established (Hoff, 2003).

Studies show that children who live in persistent poverty have slower cognitive and social development, and poorer physical or mental health, than those who live in poverty for a short time only (McLoyd,1998; Duncan and Brooks-Gunn, 2000; Sacker et al. , 2002). Those children have to face more and harder challenges than children coming from well-off families. Teachers in charge of students coming from poor background work under pressure. They have to deal with welfare issues, hungry children, angry parents, behavioural problems and so on.

Sutton et al. ‘s (2007) reported complaints from those children for being “shouted at” by their teachers and for the quality of treatment (teaching) they were receiving. Mongon (2002). came up with one of the most concerning findings – students, particularly boys, coming from poor families start to disengage from school at the age of nine or ten. Goretti Horgan carried out a study on children’s school experience that are shaped by their family background and the area in which they live.

The findings suggest that poorer children are used to their social position from a very early age; they accept that this will be reflected in their experience of school and that they are not going to get the same quality of schooling or of outcomes as better-off children.

3. Research Methodology Research methodology is a way to systematically solve the research problem. It may be understood as a science of studying how research is done scientifically.

This being said, this paper reports on a research that has followed those scientific principles during its process which has gone through the following steps: Step 1 – The topic is chosen. Step 2 – Basic information is looked for. Step 3 – The topic is fine-tuned after undergoing some amendments.

Step 4 – Literature is reviewed to collect relevant materials to support research findings. Step 5 – Research is designed with appropriate data collection techniques. Step 6 – Questionnaire is framed and tested. Step 7 – Questionnaire is finalised.

Step 8 – Data is collected, analysed. Step 9 – Hypotheses are tested and reported.

3. 1 Research Design This research on the impact on absolute poverty on attendance of secondary school students is carried with the main objective of finding answers to the research questions formulated in chapter 1. To achieve that objective, an appropriate approach is adopted and consists of choosing the best research method. A research design as conceptual structure within which research is to be conducted, makes the research process more efficient.

The research design briefly described hereunder has provided opportunity for considering many different aspects of the identified problem and has helped in making the right choice for the research methods to be used.

The main aim of research is to find out the truth on the impact, if ever there exists, of absolute poverty on school attendance. Therefore, for this particular study, the exploratory research design have been used to describe certain aspects of poverty, with a view to explaining its effect of the school attendance of secondary students of zone 1 . 2 Population and Sampling The target group for this study was the secondary schools’ students coming from families whose monthly income is less than Rs 6 200 and living in the districts of Port Louis, Pamplemousses and Riviere du Rempart. The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) has surveyed all the pockets of poverty and has found that for the three northern districts there are 1618 students going to secondary schools and coming from family categorized as living in absolute poverty. Sampling method is a procedure of selecting sample elements from a population.

A simple random sampling method was used to select the respondents and the sample size was calculated using the Slovin’s formula, N/1+N(e)2 with a 10% level of precision Where n is the sample size, N is the population size e is the level of precision This gave a sample size of 94. So, 100 respondents were randomly chosen for this study which was acceptable for generalization. 3. 3 Data Collection Method and technique A survey method was employed for data collection involving a structured questionnaire which was designed and given to respondents to elicit specific information to produce the expected output. . 4 Questionnaire Design The questionnaire consisted of primary and secondary data.

Moreover both open-ended and close-ended questions were included to enable respondents to elicit relevant data. With closed-ended questions, the respondents were asked to choose answers from a set of alternatives whereas with open-ended questions the respondents were expected to answer in their own words. In this study, closed-ended questions were used together with a Likert rating scale. Likert rating scales are the most popular form of multi-item scales.

The questionnaire contained 37 items divided into five sections; Section A included questions that give a picture of the family status of the respondent, the literacy level of responsible party, their interest and attitude to schooling of the respondent. In short, Section A intended to collect data to decide on whether to reject or not the null hypothesis whereby there is no relationship between literacy level and attitude of responsible party and attendance of respondents.

Section B had questions so designed to collect data on the home environment of the respondent.

The data expected to generate results that test hypotheses on whether home environment affects attendance of students. Section C geared towards collecting data on the respondent so as to analyse their own perception on schooling and test the null hypothesis that attitude of students to school does not affect their attendance. Section D of the questionnaire dealt with peer group to tell whether peer pressure has an influence on respondents causing them to stay away from school.

Section E collected data on the demographic characteristics of the respondents.

The most important item in this section is the monthly income of the family – an item that placed the family in the category of absolute poverty. That item in this section in fact served for the main purpose of this research, namely an investigation on the impact of absolute poverty on school attendance. 5. Reliability and Validity Reliability is defined as the extent to which a questionnaire procedure produces the same results on repeated trials.

Though practically very difficult, considerable attention has been given while framing questions of the questionnaire to help respondents give reliable data. To that effect, most of the questions have been closed and/or categorical.

Next, the items have so framed to ensure consistency. Validity is defined as the extent to which the instrument measures what it purports to measure. This is yet another criterion that received due consideration in the process of designing the questionnaire. A pretest was carried out to field-test the questionnaire and to screen interviewers.

It is worth pointing here, that the questionnaire had some items removed after trial because those items were found irrelevant and not valid. 3.

6 Ethical Consideration Ethics as a set of moral principles suggested by an individual or group and which is widely accepted, offers rules and behavioural expectations about the correct conduct towards experimental subjects and respondents. In this study, participants were clearly informed of the purpose of the study. They were also assured confidentiality before, during and after the study. 3. Data Analysis The data was organized and evaluated with the SPSS (Statistical Package of Social Sciences) software version 16. 0 and for the evaluation; both descriptive and inferential statistics were used.

Descriptive statistics provide a summary of data which has been collected and included visual representation of data both in graphical and tabular format employing frequency distribution, percentage, means and standard deviation. Inferential statistics enable the researcher to draw conclusions about a population from a sample (Hair & al. 2003).

The inferential statistics that were used for this study includes chi square test, correlation, regression, independent sample t-test, Anova and reliability test. 3. 8.

Limitation of the study This study has some limitations. 1. Due to time constraint, the survey was conducted only in schools in the Zone 1 and thus the findings of this research can not be used for drawing concrete conclusions nor can they be used for generalizations 2. The sample size has been calculated using the Slovin’s formula where e is taken to be 0. 1 when it should have been 0. 05.

The value of e being 0. 1 increases the percentage error to 10%. Again time has been the main constraint. It was practically very difficult to contact 320 (sample size with e being 0. 05) students for data collection. 3.

Information collected from the respondents may be bias as not all of them will reply truthfully to the questions. 4. Data analysis, Findings and Discussion Once all the questionnaires have been collected from respondents, the data are entered in the computer using the software Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16 for Windows.

The response of each item on the questionnaire is entered under a specific variable of a specific type – nominal, ordinal or scale. After all questionnaires have the data entered, appropriate analyses were run and the outputs reported under this chapter.

4. 1 Response Rate A low response rate can raise questions according to whether the response received were representative of the sample or were in some way biased (Punch, 2003). However the researcher should endeavor for a response rate of at least 60 percent.

For this study, 100 questionnaires were distributed and 94 questionnaire were collected amounted to a response rate of 94% which was found acceptable for generalization 4. 2Demographic characteristics of the respondents The following section describes the characteristics of the sample being studied and the participants were asked to provide information about demographic data. 4.

2. 1Age of the respondents Table 1generated by SPSS software give an exact picture of the age of the respondents. The age varies between 12 and 16 with the median at 14; the mean is 13. 74 and the mode is 13. |Table 1: Age of respondents | | | | |Age | | | | | | |Frequency | | |Percent | |N Valid Percent | |Valid |Cumulative Percent | |94 | | | |Valid | | |12 | |Missing |16 | |0 |17. 0 | | |17.

0 | |Mean |17. 0 | |13. 4 | | | | | |Median |13 | |14. 00 |26 | | |27. 7 | |Mode |27.

7 | |13 |44. | | | | | | | | |14 | | |24 | | |25. 5 | | |25. 5 | | |70. | | | | | | | | |15 | | |22 | | |23.

4 | | |23. 4 | | |93. | | | | | | | | |16 | | |6 | | |6. 4 | | |6. 4 | | |100. | | | | | | | | |Total | | |94 | | |100.

0 | | |100. 0 | | | | | | 4. 2. 2Class level of the respondents The respondents were asked about the class (table 2) they are attending at secondary level. The bar chart below reflects the distribution.

It is however important to highlight the fact that among the 94 respondents, 29. 8% are in the mainstream (CPE passed) while 71. 2% have failed the CPE exams and are in the prevocational stream. [pic] Table 2: class level of respondents 4. 2. 3Family status The next relevant data collected is about the number of persons (table 3) living together with respondent.

Alongside, the number of persons working (number of bread earners) was asked.

The table below provides a picture for the 94 respondents. A mean of 6. 15 is observed for total number of persons in the family while the mean for number of persons working is 2. 77. |Table 3: Family Status | | | |No of persons in |Working persons | | | |family | | |N |Valid |94 |94 | | |Missing |0 |0 | |Mean |6.

15 |2. 77 | |Median |6. 00 |2. 0 | |Mode |6 |2 | 4. 2.

4Monthly income The National Empowerment Fund has set the level of absolute poverty (Table 4) at Rs 6 200 or less. The respondents were asked to indicate the total monthly income in the family (adding up the monthly earning of every working member). Both the mode and the medium in the distribution are at Rs 2 000 – 2 999. |Table 4: monthly income | | | 4. 3Home Environment

Literature provides with enough evidence to support the fact that school children coming from poor families and socially disadvantaged environment show little interest to schooling and absent themselves regularly from school.

One of the objectives of this study is to evaluate the effect of that low socio-economic environment of the home on school attendance of secondary students of Zone 1. Different factors that may have direct influence on school attendance have been considered and the questionnaire has been so designed to collect data that can help in investigating the relationship, if ever there exists, between those factors and attendance at school. 4. 3. 1Reaction of guardians towards not attending classes Table 7: Reaction to absence | | | |ANOVAb | | | |Model | |Sum of Squares | |df | |Mean Square | |F | |Sig.

| | | |1 | |Regression | |. 076 | |1 | |. 076 | |. 300 | |. 85a | | | | | |Residual | |23.

328 | |92 | |. 254 | | | | | | | | | |Total | |23. 04 | |93 | | | | | | | | | |a. Predictors: (Constant), brother/sister going to school | | | | | | | |b.

Dependent Variable: school materials | | | | | | | | | 4. 3.

3 Running water and toilet/bathroom facilities Families living in absolute poverty have been surveyed by officers of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), and some families have been found to lack facilities such as running water, toilet and bathroom. Being deprived of such essential amenities may have adverse effect on school attendance of children living in such conditions.

Data analysis shows that above 90% of the respondents have running water at their place; however nearly 30% of them are deprived of a toilet and bathroom to wash them for school. 4. 3.

4 A decent place to study at home Students, whether of primary or secondary, have homework; and to do that homework, they need a place at their place with at least a table, a chair and enough light. The respondents have been asked if they do have those minimum facilities to complete their homework for the following school day. Alongside, they were asked if there is, at their place a member of the family who can assist them in their homework whenever needed. Table 9: Decent place to study at home |Help from someone at home | | | | |Frequency | | |Percent | | |Valid Percent |Frequency | | |Percent | |Valid |Valid Percent | |yes | |53 |Valid | |56. 4 |Yes | |56. 4 |59 | | |62.

8 | | |62. | |No | | |41 | | |43. 6 |No | |43. 6 |35 | | |37. | | |37. 2 | |Total | | |94 | | |100.

0 |Total | |100. |94 | | |100. 0 | |Study Room |100. 0 | | | | Table 9 showed that nearly half of the respondents do not have those minimum facilities for them to continue their studies at home. Moreover, 37.

% of the respondents are helpless when they have difficulties with their homework. 4. 3. 5School materials The respondents are students coming from poor families with a monthly income of less than Rs 6 200, most of them with an income in the range Rs 2 000 – Rs 2 999 (paragraph 1. 4).

Those students are often faced with the problems of not having the required school materials and consequently find them unable to attend schools. To confirm that fact, this study has collected data and the analysis (table 10) reflects some 46. 8% of the respondents do not get the necessary school materials, the reason being their guardians cannot afford (97. 6%). Table 10: school materials school materials |reason for not getting materials | | | | | | | | | | |Frequency |Frequency | |Percent |Percent | |Valid Percent |Valid Percent | |Cumulative Percent |Cumulative Percent | | | | |Valid |Valid | |Yes |Can’t afford | |50 |41 | |53. 2 |45.

6 | |53. 2 |97. 6 | |53. 2 |97. | | | | | | | |No |Do not ask | |44 |1 | |46.

8 |1. 1 | |46. 8 |2. 4 | |100. 0 |100.

| | | | | | | |Total |Total | |94 |42 | |100. 0 |46. 7 | |100. 0 |100. | | | | | | | A linear regression (table 11), to further analyse the data, was conducted with a view to establishing a relationship between availability of school materials and attendance at school. The output of the linear regression between the dependant variable (attendance) and the independent variable (school materials) is displayed in tables below.

The results reveal a coefficient of 0. 65, which falls within the range 0. 3 – 0. indicating a moderate association between the dependent and the independent variables. The results also reveal a p-value less than 0. 001 thus providing enough evidence to conclude a significant relationship between the variables.

Table 11: Availability of school materials v/s attendance at school |Model Summary | |Model |R | |ANOVAb | |Model |Sum of Squares |df |Mean Square | |b.

Dependent Variable: attend school regularly | | | 4. 3. 6 Other factors in the home environment A home environment conducive to learning and increased interest in studies consists of many elements, most important of all being the supply of electricity which makes possible other facilities. The questionnaire did consider those factors and data have been collected to that effect.

An analysis of the data collected is reflected in the tables below: Table 12: other factors in home environment |Electricity at home |Feature | | valid % | | | | | |Daily Newspaper | |Frequency |4. 30% | |Percent | | |Valid Percent |Internet | |Cumulative Percent |6. 0% | | | | |Valid |Computer | |Yes |14. 00% | |89 | | |98. 9 |Weekly newspaper | |98. 9 |41.

50% | |98. | | | |TV set | | |81. 70% | |No | | |1 |Radio set | |1. 1 |87. 10% | |1.

1 | | |100. | | | | | | | | |Total | | |90 | | |100. 0 | | |100. | | | | | | | | Nearly all respondents are connected to the electricity supply. Other features of the home environment that definitely add value to the learning atmosphere at home are a radio set, a TV set, a computer, connection to the Internet and daily or weekly newspapers. How many of the respondents are exposed to such facilities at their place? The above table gives a picture of the data collected.

Interestingly, some 14%of the respondents have a computer at their place and some 6. 5% with connection to the Internet. And, more than 40% have access to a weekly newspaper. 4. 4 Attitude of the students to schooling Poverty can be a barrier to education due to the fact that someone who is poor will not be able to afford for the requirements so essential to schooling and learning.

Some of those requirements have been dealt with in previous paragraphs. Moreover, poverty is seen to breed a negative attitude in students concerned, and that negative attitude in turn, has an adverse influence on attendance. How much that statement is true, this study has tried to come up with some answers. 4. 4.

1 CPE Results

The respondents were asked if they have passed the CPE exams so as to provide a picture of the performance of the respondents at primary level. The data collected has shown that 69. 1% of the respondents have failed the CPE and the reasons given are as follows: Table 12: Reasons for failing CPE Exams |I did not like my teachers |3. 30% | |I did not like going to school |11. 90% | |I did not like the subjects |18. 00% | |My parents did not encourage me |52.

0% | |I did not take private tuition |68. 90% | |I find reading/learning difficult |70. 50% | |I was too playful and not interested in studies |72. 10% | 72% of the respondents fail CPE because they did not show interest to studies and that lack of interest is explained by the fact that they have learning difficulties since 70% confess in finding reading and learning difficult. Another important factor that needs to be highlighted is private tuition with nearly 70% were deprived of that additional coaching. 4.

4. 2Attending school

The main objective of this study is to investigate on the effect of absolute poverty on attendance. Table 12 below shows what the real situation among students living in poverty is. |Table 12: attend school regularly | | | | |I do not like the school environment |8. 90% | |Other students behave badly with me |12.

50% | |I have health problems |14. 30% | |My parents ask me to stay at home |21. 0% | |I do not do homework |26. 80% | |I have friends outside schools |28. 60% | |I did not have the necessary school materials |46.

40% | |I do not like the subjects |46. 40% | |I did not have shoes/uniforms |48. 20% | |I find school work too difficult |64. 30% | |I did not get lunch/pocket money |75. 0% | The striking point in the above table is that 75% of the respondents did not attend school because they did not have lunch and pocket money. 48. 2% were absent because of school uniforms and/or shoes while some 46% were absent because they did not have the necessary school materials. Quite interestingly, some 21% of the respondents were absent at the request of t