The influence of pupils’ economic needs on their behaviour of dropping out of primary school in Tanzania: a case of Mbozi district, Mbeya region.

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study sought to investigate the influence of pupils’ economic needs on their behaviour of dropping out of primary school in Mbozi district. Three research questions guided the study: (1. What is the rate of dropouts in primary schools? 2. What is the influence of basic school needs on pupils dropping out of school? 3. What are the efforts made by the government, local government and schools to curb the problem of school dropouts?). The study was carried out in eleven primary schools of Mbozi district. The study employed a qualitative research methodology using a case study design in data collection. A total of 84 respondents was involved in the study of which 32 were parents and guardians, 30 were dropouts, 11 were Head teachers, 10 were VEOs and 1 was the DEO of Mbozi district. The dropouts and parents/guardians of dropouts were selected on the basis of their availability and readiness to be interviewed. On the other hand, the DEO, VEOs and head teachers were selected on the basis of their responsibilities on education matters. The methods designed for data collection included document review, interviews (semi-structured) and observation (non-participant) method. Data analysis was highly based on the research instruments used in data collection, research objectives, themes, units and types of data collected. It was found in the study that the pupils dropping out of school was a common phenomenon in all selected primary schools. The findings indicate that boys were more likely to drop out of school than girls. It was also found that the dropout rate was high in lower classes and in the upper classes as well. Lack of pupils’ economic needs had a link to primary school dropping behaviour. The study findings identified low family income among parents/guardians as a major cause of pupil’s lack of school requirements. Other factors being a poor primary school leaving examination (PSLE) final results, increasing number of orphans in schools, peer groups, unfavourable school environments, walking far distance to and from schools and unfavourable African’s culture and traditions. It was also found out that there were efforts made by the government, local governments, schools and other educational stakeholders to curb the problem including provision of funds from central government, food programme, supplying teachers in schools, supporting orphan pupils, routine for pregnancy check up, using bylaws, conducting meetings and school punishments. The study recommended that the government needs to support poor families and orphans and to ensure equal and universal access to pupils’ economic needs, schools to establish or improve the school feeding programme. Moreover, the efforts should be done to fight against child labour and bad African’s norms and traditions which affect the well-fare of school children. It is also recommended to build new primary schools where needed. The current strategies towards school dropouts should be reviewed including allowing pregnant girls to return to school after delivery. Lastly, the study invited other researchers to work on other areas in a wider geographical area and which will involve more sample relating to primary school dropouts.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF LC146.8.T34M852)
Dropouts, Primary school dropouts, Mbozi district, Mbeya region, Tanzania
Mwambene, B.A (2013) The influence of pupils’ economic needs on their behaviour of dropping out of primary school in Tanzania: a case of Mbozi district, Mbeya region.Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam.