Factors Responsible For Pupils’ Lateness To Schools
Lateness is a common problem among secondary school students in Benue, Makurdi, Nigeria. However, there is lack of literature on the factors responsible for lateness and its effects on the students academic achievement, creating the need for this study. The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that influence lateness among students and the resultant effect of lateness on Student’s performance. A cross-sectional study was conducted using a structured questionnaire for teachers and a questionnaire for students. Data were collected using structured and simple random sampling techniques. A structured questionnaire was used in data collection. The results revealed that there were school-related determinants influencing lateness in the study area with the main home related determinant being coming from abusive families and homes, others were family poverty, n parental attitude towards education and coming from a polygamous family. There were also numerous home-related factors affecting lateness. There is therefore a great need to have a concerted effort by schools and the government to formulate a policy on how to increase parental involvement and help eliminate variables within home and family environments.
1.1 Background to the Study
Lateness is a significant problem in the United States [US] and in other countries around the world. It has been linked to serious immediate and far-reaching consequences for youth, families, and schools and communities (Stahl, 2008). Despite significant efforts, millions of dollars spent by schools, communities, states, and the US federal government to reduce lateness over the past 20 years, there is little evidence that any positive impact has been made on school attendance (Attwood & Croll, 2006; Davies & Lee, 2006). Between 1994 and 2005 in the US, the patterns of absenteeism remained relatively stable, while the number of lateness cases petitioned and handled in juvenile courts in the United States increased to 69% between 1995 and 2004 (Stahl, 2008). All these studies further revealed that late comers in the United States of America record poor academic performance in almost all tests administered scoring below average compared to non-late comers.
Student absenteeism is also a major concern in Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) (Davies & Lee, 2006). Canada ranked 5th out of the 43 industrialized nations in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development study in terms of the proportion of truant high school students, with 26% of Canadian 15 year olds reporting having been late, skipping class or missing school in the two weeks prior to the survey. According to Anderson (2008), lateness is also a problem facing many secondary school students in Japan with social and economic status as well as parental education level being mentioned as contributors to lateness among students. The author further showed that in Japan, late comers reported several accompanying problems including poor academic achievement, dropouts and repetition of learners.
The influence of lateness was identified as poor academic performance for the truants, their class and school, wastage of learning time, dropping out of school, poverty to the individual and family in future, involvement with delinquent behaviour, family instability, social maladjustment and insecurity in the family. For instance, 88.2% student respondents suggested that inability to finish assignment was a factor that contributed to lateness while the responses of class teachers was 37.6%, counseling teachers 50% and principals 50%. Inability to cope with academic performance had 58.3 students, 37.5 class teachers 50% counselling teachers and 100% principals‟ responses. 56.4% students, 37.5%, class teachers, 37.5 counsellors and 37.5 principals responded to threats and bulling as a factor contributing to lateness. Drug and substance abuse was selected by 54.1 students, 37.5% principals. Family problems as a factor was selected by 50.3% students, 50% class teachers‟ 75% counselling teachers and 100% principals. Kanga further revealed that 88.6% of students, 100% class teachers, counseling teachers and principals indicated that lateness affects academic performance. Responses on that lateness affects learning time were students (84.2), class teachers (87.5) counselling teachers 87.5 and principals (100%). On poor class and school performance responses were students (83.2%), class teachers‟ (75%), counselling teachers (37.5%) and principals (100%). However, despite the prevalence of lateness among secondary school students in Benue, Makurdi Nigeria, there is lack of literature on the factors responsible for lateness and its effects on the students academic achievement, creating the need for this study.
1.2 Problem Statement
As shown in the background to the study, lateness and its determinants has been shown to have definitive negative impact or effect on late comers‟ academic achievement. All over the world, secondary schools are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the enrolled students get quality education, pass their examination, complete their studies and also grow up to be responsible citizens capable of contributing to national development. During the school period, every student is normally expected to complete their studies without dropping out or missing school hours without valid reasons, but given the fact that at this stage students are normally at the adolescence stage, some of them around the world end up dropping completely out of schools while others continuously miss classes and school days (Obondo & Dhadphale, 1990). This situation is true of secondary school students in Nigeria, as in many schools in the rural areas such as Makurdi, everyday and or week, several students are reported to have missed school, and this normally leads to poor performance of these students academically due to loss of school hour (DEO Report, 2012). The cases of lateness in Makurdi secondary school have been on the rise recently with cases of 20-30 students missing school being reported every day. However, the associated influence of lateness on students‟ lives especially academic achievement had not been documented in Makurdi Benue (DEO Report, 2012). There was very little information on whether school-related, home-related and individual student-related determinants influenced lateness in the study location. Less was known on whether these determinants affected lateness among one gender more than the other. Given this, the current study assessed the factors responsible for lateness among secondary school students and the resultant effect of lateness on late comers academic achievement.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to identify the factors responsible for lateness among secondary school students and its effect on Student’s performance in Benue, Makurdi, Nigeria.
1.4 Research Objectives
- Establish the extent to which school-based determinants influence lateness among secondary school students in Markudi, Benue.
- Assess home-related determinants influencing lateness among secondary school students in Markudi, Benue
- Identify individual student-related determinants influencing lateness among secondary school students in Markudi, Benue.
- Assess the Influence of lateness on secondary school students academic achievement in Markudi, Benue.
1.5 Research Questions
- To what extent does school-based determinants influence lateness among secondary school students in Markudi, Benue?
- What are the home-related determinants influencing lateness among secondary school students in Markudi, Benue?
- Which individual student-related determinants influence lateness among secondary school students in Markudi, Benue?
- What is the influence of lateness on secondary school students academic achievement in Markudi, Benue?
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study may help limit the factors responsible for lateness among secondary school students and thereby help reduce the prevalence of lateness among students in Makurdi. Secondary schools together with the students‟ parents may be able to work together and find solutions to these determinants. The performance of secondary school students is also expected to improve with the availability of solution for lateness determinants which may lead to less or no loss of class and school hours and days. The influence of lateness on the students‟ lives and the community in general may be reduced as more students may be completing this level of education and advancing in their career. The government and other stakeholders may use this study to come up with strategies to help reduce the rates of lateness among secondary school students in the country and also carry out sensitization campaigns based on the information provided in this study.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
This study faced numerous challenges, for instance, some participants had negative attitude towards the study. Another limitation was the sensitive nature of the study topic which made the teachers fear that this may be an evaluation of their abilities to handle lateness and late comers while late comers felt that it was too personal. The researcher informed the respondents especially the teachers and late comers that this is simply an academic research and its results are meant to assist schools and late comers improve academically. The students were further assured of anonymity during and after the study. This improved their attitudes and participation in the study as teachers gained confidence also after being told that the research was not an evaluation of their effectiveness in managing lateness in their schools. Due to large number of target population and limited study timeline, the whole population could not be studied. This was remedied by the researcher selecting a sample that was used to represent everyone in the target population. Another limitation was instrumentation where the researcher used structured questionnaires to collect data from the two categories of the respondents. The researcher ensured that this instrument was structured to have both open-ended and closed-ended questions.
1.8 Delimitations of the Study
This study was carried out in Makurdi Benue, Nigeria. It intended to identify the factors responsible for lateness among secondary school students as well as the Influence of lateness on School achievement.
Summary of Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations
5.1 Summary of Findings
5.1.1 Extent to Which School-Based Determinants Influence Lateness among Secondary School Students
Here, a summary of results on the first objective of the study which was to establish the extent to which school-based determinants influence lateness among secondary school students in Markudi, Benue are presented. First, the study established that lateness was common within the studied schools. All the respondents who included students and teachers agreed that lateness was a problem facing secondary schools in Makurdi Nigeria. Second, the main school-related determinant of lateness was found to be severe punishments. Others included low self-esteem, strict rules, lack of guidance and counselling, lack of proper class attendance record, bullying and lack of interest on late comers by teachers.
Third, the study established that the influence of school-related determinants on lateness was generally very high. Forth, the obtained results revealed that school- related determinants affected truant male students 69% n=265 students and 74%n=49 teachers mentioned indicating that more male learners are affected by school- related factors responsible for lateness than female students.
Fifth, it was further shown that school-related determinants influence lateness in various ways for instance, most teachers 55% n=36 and students 69% n=263 strongly agreed that tough school rules increases lateness rates, majority of students 72% n=273 and teachers 76% n=50 also strongly agreed with the statement that lack of interest on truants by teachers influences lateness tendencies, majority of students 75% n=288 and teachers 61% n=40 students also strongly agreed that severe punishment for lateness at school makes late comers skip school more. Lastly, it was revealed that there was a weak positive association between school-related determinants and lateness in public secondary schools in Makurdi, Nigeria.
5.1.2 Home-Related Determinants Influencing Lateness among Secondary School Students
The other objective of this study was to ascertain home-related determinants influencing lateness among secondary school students in Markudi, Benue. First, the findings revealed that there were home related factors responsible for lateness in the study area with the main home related determinant of lateness being coming from abusive families and homes, others were family poverty, n parental attitude towards education and coming from a polygamous family.
Second, HRDs were found to influence lateness among secondary school learners in Benue. This was supported by the results which showed that majority of students n=115 strongly agreed while a majority of teachers n=99 strongly disagreed that staying with a single parent encourages lateness, majority of students n=283 andteachers n=48 strongly agreed that parental attitude towards education influences lateness, majority of students n=315 and teachers n=57 strongly agreed that having chores at home during school days increases lateness. Lastly, the study revealed a weak but positive association between HRDs and lateness among students in the study area.
5.1.3 Individual Student-related Factors responsible for lateness among Secondary School Students
Another objective for that study was to identify individual student-related determinants influencing lateness among secondary school students in Markudi, Benue. First, the main individual student-related determinant of lateness was revealed to be being a bread winner, others included engaging in deviant behaviours, abusing drugs and substances, lower self-esteem, lower academic self- concepts and students gender. Second, the study showed that individual student- related determinant influenced lateness among female students‟ more than male students.
Third, it was established that several individual-related determinants influencing lateness among learners, for instance a majority of n=184 students strongly agreed that gender of students influences lateness with n=40 teachers feeling the same, n=293 students and n=60 teachers strongly agreed that students low academic self- concept influences lateness, n=310 students and n=43 teachers strongly agreed that learners with low self-esteem are truants and n=302 students and n=49 teachers strongly agreed that learners abusing drugs and substances are truants.
5.2 Conclusions of the Study
Given the results, on the first objective of the study which was to establish the extent to which school-based determinants influence lateness among secondary school students in Markudi, Benue, the researcher concludes that there are various school-related determinants influencing lateness among students. The researcher also concludes that these determinants influence lateness to a high extent with male students being majorly affected.
With respect to the second objective of the study which was to ascertain home- related determinants influencing lateness among secondary school students in Markudi, Benue, the researcher concludes that numerous home-related determinants exist that influence lateness among students in the study area. Third, the researcher concludes that a dearth of individual-related determinants exist among secondary school students in public secondary schools studied and these greatly influence lateness among learners. However, these determinants mainly influenced lateness among female students more. Lastly, the researcher concludes that lateness have a general negative impact on academic achievement of late comers in the study area with male students academic achievement mostly affected by thevice.
5.3 Recommendations of the Study
There is a need for the school administration to take urgent measures to eliminate all the school-related factors responsible for lateness. This can be done by peer counselling as well as professional guidance and counselling services being offered to learners.
School policies must also be strengthened if the school-related determinants are to be successfully dealt with. This is because each school has policies from the Ministry of Education as well as internal policies on dealing with lateness. A review of existing policies is therefore necessary in order to adopt only those policies that help in minimizing lateness while eliminating those that seem to increase it. The researcher also recommends that there is need for increased parental involvement in their children’s education. This is because studies show that parental involvement is an effective way of eliminating lateness among learners. Parents need to monitor students school attendance and have positive attitude towards their education in order to improve school attendance.
There is therefore a great need to have a concerted effort by schools and the government to formulate a policy on how to increase parental involvement and help eliminate variables within home and family environments influencing lateness among learners.
The researcher further recommends remedial lessons should be offered to late comers in order to improve their academic achievement.
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