Persistent School drop-outs among Girls in selected Secondary Schools of Nakonde District in Zambia

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Chaponda, Cecilia
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The University of Zambia
Most studies on school dropouts in Zambia have concentrated on Primary and Basic schools. Some studies and Ministry of Education reports have shown that in Zambia there are school dropouts among girls in both Primary and Secondary schools despite interventions and measures put in place by the Government. Furthermore, no study has been conducted in Nakonde District to find out why the school dropout rate among girls has persisted. This study aimed at establishing the factors contributing to persistent school dropout rates among girls in five (5) selected Secondary Schools of Nakonde District. The objectives of this study were; to establish the rate of dropouts among girls from grades 10 to 12 in the period 2013 to 2015, to determine factors associated with persistent school drop-out rates among girls, to investigate whether the attitude of girls towards school led to persistent school drop-out among girls and to examine the views of the head-teachers, teachers and parents on persistent school drop-out among girls. The researcher adopted a descriptive case study design. The target population was 130. This consisted of five head teachers, 65 teachers and ten parents who were purposively selected while 50 pupils were selected by using Simple random sampling. Questionnaires, focus group discussions and semi structured interview instruments were used to collect data. Qualitative data were analysed thematically by categorizing related topics to the study, making themes, interpreting and summarizing them according to the research objectives. While quantitative data were analysed by using of SPSS. The findings of the study showed that there were still school dropouts among girls in Nakonde District. The major factors were early marriages, poverty, pregnancies, business ventures, distance, prostitution and the negative attitude of the girls. Some recommendations from the research findings include: Government to construct at least two secondary boarding schools in Nakonde District, Re-entry Policy needs to be revised, Government should continue to sensitize parents and girls on the importance of education, to reenforce the law of punishing parents and guardians who force school girls into early marriages, Government to work hand in hand with the community of Nakonde in protecting the girl-child from human trafficking activities, the Ministry of General Education also to look at other factors leading to school dropouts among girls, to establish colleges and skills training centers in Nakonde District so as to motivate girls to continue with education. The researcher has recommended for further studies on early marriages, the same study on persistent school dropouts among girls to be conducted in other border towns, comparison of the performance of female teachers in all girls’ secondary schools and co-education schools, and to investigate the performance of young teachers between one and five years in the teaching service. The study concludes by encouraging the Government to intensify the Education Reforms enshrined in ‘Educating Our Future’ in order to reduce on school dropouts among girls in Zambia.
High School dropouts-Zambia , Girls Education-Zambia