Head teachers’ perspectives on school drop-out in secondary schools in rural Punjab, Pakistan

2017-02-01T14:46:15Z (GMT) by Abdul Mughal Jo Aldridge
This study investigates head teachers’ perspectives of the school dropout problem at public secondary schools in rural Punjab, Pakistan. The study is based on qualitative methods and included telephone interviews to collect primary data. Sixteen districts of the Punjab where secondary school dropout rate is above 20% were purposively selected for the study. The findings indicate that other than some socioeconomic and individual factors, different exam patterns at primary, elementary and secondary levels, easy promotion policy in early classes, English medium syllabus, poor educational background of students, high failure rate in class 9 and top-down pressures on teachers to perform non-academic duties are major causes of children dropping out from school. The findings of the study suggest that only through implementation of a socio-culturally compatible syllabus - a corresponding examination system for all levels - allowing students to repeat class 9 in case they fail, setting teachers free from non-teaching duties and providing extra financial support to poor students can significantly prevent school dropout at secondary level. The study further argues that easy promotion policy in early classes may retain more children at school but it causes high rates of dropout from secondary classes.