The relationship between educational fees and the dropout-rate in selected boarding secondary schools in the southern province

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Himpyali, Barnabas
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The main objective of the study was to determine the impact of educational fees on the dropout rate in selected boarding secondary schools of the Southern Province. The study tried to establish whether there were pupils who fell out of the school system due to the increase in educational fees.The sample was drawn from pupils who entered grade 8 in 1987 and should have been completing grade 12 in 1991 in boarding schools. The rationale for selecting pupils who entered grade 8 in 1987 was that they were the first secondary school group of pupils to feel the full impact of educational fees. Through stratified random sampling eight out of the fifteen eligible schools were selected for the study. Of the eight schools studied, four are Grant-Aided (two for boys only and two co-educational)while the remaining four are Government (two for boys only and two co-educational).A total of 280 grade 12 pupils were randomly selected from the target schools to complete questionnaires to obtain the following information; the pupils' knowledge of dropouts due to fee problem from among grade 12 pupils, pupils' knowledge of the bursary scheme and whether any grade 12 pupils had obtained the sponsorship, pupils' knowledge and ranking of dropout factors in boarding secondary schools and whether it was parents or guardians paying for pupils' education. Likewise, Heads of the target schools had to complete questionnaires to supply the following information: total fees charged to each pupil annually, total number of pupils on government bursary scheme,recommendations on the operations of the bursary scheme, the ability and willingness to pay fees and the main dropout factors in boarding secondary schools.In data analysis, factual presentation is done based on the responses of the respondents and personal observations made during the survey. Descriptions of the findings have been re-enforced by the use of descriptive statistics.Investigations revealed that where the fees problem was experienced, the majority of dropouts on those grounds were amongst grades 8 and 9. All dropouts were boys.The study also indicated that more pupils withdrew from government schools because of the inability to pay fees than from grant-aided schools during the five-year period. This is in spite of the fact that the grant-aided schools charged the highest average annual fees. The main reason is that grant-aided school authorities processed pupils' bursaries more effectively than government school authorities, resulting in the majority of pupils in grant-aided schools recommended for bursaries obtaining the sponsorships. The other reason is that grant-aided school officials sought assistance in monetary terms and in kind for needy pupils from businessmen and the clergy.Although only seven pupils dropped out of school because of financial problems, this dropout factor ranks fourth together with dropouts because of dagga smoking out of the eight major dropout factors identified in the schools visited during the research. Being ranked fourth means that it is quite a serious problem which requires proper attention from the educational authorities.
Educational Fees , School dropout , Boarding Schools- -Southern province