How farming, cattle herding and socio-economic factors lead to absenteeism among pupils in selected schools in Kalomo district of Southern province in Zambia.
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This study investigated how farming, cattle herding and social economic factors lead to absenteeism among pupils in selected schools in Kalomo district of southern province in Zambia. The study was built on the conceptual framework of learner absenteeism measured by socio-economic status, farming and cattle herding. The study was informed by Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. A descriptive research design which was supported by qualitative methods of data collection was used in the study. Interview Guides and four Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were used to collect data from a purposively sampled population of twenty eight (28) study participants comprising of four (4) guidance and counselling teachers, twenty (20) parents and four (4) FGDs. The study used thematic analysis to analyse data, where common themes were identified, grouped for easy interpretation and presented using verbatim based on the research objectives. The study established that absenteeism exist in primary schools of Kalomo District in Zambia. The study established that major drivers behind absenteeism are economic factors of cattle herding and farming in which learners are involved to supplement family income due to high levels of poverty. Other factors that contributed to learner absenteeism included; physical factors such as long distance to school; health factors such as prolonged sickness and death in the family. Other related issues included household factors which borders on parents and guardians lack of financial capability to provide for school demands for their children, as well as cultural and social factors such as initiation ceremonies. Therefore, the study confirms that cattle herding, farming and poor economic status of parents are the major home factors contributing significantly to high levels of pupil absenteeism in Kalomo district. Therefore, the study recommends that parents should form pressure groups to sensitize each other on the importance of education, parents should practice traditional ceremonies during the holidays and that the Government and school administrators should engage in constructive sensitization of parents on the importance of education especially for their children. Furthermore, it is recommended that parents should be empowered for them to stop over depending on their children’s labour for survival
The University of Zambia