A study on the causes of truancy among secondary school students in Nyeri county, Central Kenya.
Rukahu, Damaris Wanjiku
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Truancy, or unexcused absence from school, has been linked to serious delinquent activities in outh and to significant negative behavior and characteristics in adults. Truancy has been observed in the secondary schools in Nyeri County, and little information is available on the causes of this truancy. The purpose of this study therefore, was to investigate the causes of truancy in secondary schools with particular interest on the Nyeri County. This study adopted the urvey research design. The target population was all the 61,255 students in the 216 secondary schools in the County, the 216 principals, about 3140 teachers, eight District Quality Assurance officers and the County Director of Education. Schools were selected from the different categories using purposive random sampling. A sample of students was then randomly and proportionately drawn from each of the selected schools. Data was collected using questionnaires as well as interview schedules. The instruments were first tried out and tested in a pilot study done in one school which was not included in the main study. Corrections were done to the questionnaires and interview schedules as was found necessary. Reliability of the instruments was estimated using test-retest method whose results were correlated to get the reliability index. The reliability coefficient was 0.75. The researcher then travelled to the selected schools, distributed the questionnaires, picked them up after they were filled and conducted the interviews. The collected information was then organized in tables and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software, version 17, after which inferences were made. The results are presented using frequency distributions, tables and graphs. The results of the study showed that students were absent from school without permission more often, for one or more days at a time rather than for part of a day. Among the factors leading to truancy related to the school, lack of supervision and a stressful daily routine were given by the highest percentage of respondents. The home environment was also reported to contribute to the causes of truancy, and poverty related factors were rated highest followed by family responsibilities which keep the students arhome when they should be in school. Individual factors leading to truancy were also given, peer pressure and sickness rating as the highest contributors according to the respondents. It was also found that the mixed day schools had the highest levels of truancy as compared to the boarding schools. On the basis of these findings, recommendations were made including; strengthening control and supervision of students, effective and sustainable guidance and counseling programs, preferably managed by trained counselors who are not classroom teachers, provision of learning materials as well as provision of health facilities in the schools.