Report on Primary School Dropouts The Reasons Behind an Anthropological Investigation [part-4] CHAPTER 6:
INTER AND INTRA LINKAGES BETWEEN VARIOUS FACTORS
Drop-out problem is not caused by any single reason, in fact, a whole lot of different factors work behind it. These factors are also inter-related to each other and therefore one factor influences many other factors. For example, poverty has inter-linkages with many other factors that influences drop-out like quality of education, parental attitude etc. Poverty also has intra linkages with facts like direct cost, indirect cost and opportunity cost of schooling, early pressure for marriage. As poverty is one of the major reasons behind drop-out, it has various linkages with most of the other problems. Although primary education is declared as tuition-free, there are many direct costs like exam fees, enrollment fee; certain amount from the stipend money is also taken for various reasons. These expenses become a big problem for the poor households and it influences dropping out because when survival is the issue, things like education is less important. Another problem was the hidden costs of schooling that are clothes, pen and paper, etc. all of the 12 samples and their parents said that buying clothes, pen and papers was a huge problem for them. All of the parents said that as they are poor people, these extra costs of schooling are unbearable to them. Almost all of 12 dropouts have missed school frequently due to failure in obtaining these articles. They feared that they will be punished if they go to school without pen or paper. Teachers said that children who come to school without pen or paper cause a lot of trouble because they are unable to do any class work and disturb the other students. So they are given punishment. The opportunity costs of schooling include chore time, sibling care and foregone earnings of children. The opportunity costs of educating children are higher in poor families because these families rely more on each member to contribute to the family’s economic survival. Girls and women are the unpaid household labourers. All of the 6 female samples’ labour in the household is an economic necessity because it frees others to earn outside. All of them had to do important works like collecting water and firewood, washing utensils, helping in cooking and taking care of siblings. Dropouts who belonged to large families, less earning members and unstable income due to illness of earning members had to do wage work for cash. All of the female samples told that they had worked in rich households as domestic helps when their family needed cash or could not afford a satisfactory meal. It is difficult for poor families to afford the opportunity cost of schooling because the contribution of their child’s labour at household work or earning is essential at certain times for the survival of their families. All of these direct, hidden and opportunity costs are intra-linked with poverty, which causes poor attendance rate. This encourages dropping-out as the school terms clash with the agricultural cycle and those who miss school over several weeks drop behind, teachers withdraw their books and they are disqualified for stipend, as a result, they ultimately abandon school. Poverty is interlinked with quality of education as poor families cannot afford private tuitions for their children. Apart from a few parents most of them were illiterate and they could not give any effective help to their children in their studies. Hence these parents have regarded the need of going to private tuitions as a very urgent one. All the samples agreed that students who took private tuitions performs in the class and does well in exams.
All the parents agreed that if the teachers had taught the students well in the class, then the parents would not have to spend extra money to send their children for private tuitions. The parents even said that the teachers do this deliberately...
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