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

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journal contribution
posted on 01.02.2017, 14:46 authored 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.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

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Educational Studies


MUGHAL, A.W. and ALDRIDGE, J., 2017. Head teachers’ perspectives on school drop-out in secondary schools in rural Punjab, Pakistan. Educational Studies, 53(4), pp.359-376.


© American Educational Studies Association. Published by Taylor & Francis


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Educational Studies on 20 Apr 2017, available online: