a Study on School Dropouts in Terai and Hill Districts of Nepal

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SOCIAL INCLUSION RESEARCH FUND

SOCIAL EXCLUSION IN EDUCATION: A STUDY ON SCHOOL

DROPOUTS IN TERAI AND HILL DISTRICTS OF NEPAL

REPORT

Submitted to the

SOCIAL INCLUSION RESEARCH FUND

SIRF Secretariat, SNV Nepal

Submitted by

Binay kumar Kushiyait (Yadav)

SIRF Fellows

2007

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The goal of Universal Primary Education is more than putting the primary school-age children into the school system. For this, dropout of the enrolled children from school should be checked and the completion of primary cycle by all in a period of five years be ensured. In order to control dropout of children from school, the causes and victims of dropout should be identified and their solutions examined.

For this, an in-depth inquiry into the problem of dropout in primary education like the present study is called for, which helps to draw realistic and result-oriented policies and actions so as to check dropout and pave a smooth road-map towards education for all. Hence, the present study entitled "Social Exclusion in Education:

A study on School Dropouts in Terai and Hill Districts of Nepal”

I am extremely grateful to

SNV

Nepal for providing me SIRF research fellowship, 2007 for completion of my research. I express my gratitude to Dr

Rajendra Pradhan and Mr. Hari Sharma for encouragement and support to me to beginning of this study. I thank the officials of the Ministry of Education,

Department of Education, and District Education Offices of the Government of

Nepal and the persons working with the libraries and the study centers I visited in the course of this study. Neither passing mention nor brief thanks would commensurate the helps I received from the head-teachers, teachers and SMC members of the schools I visited, the parents of the dropout children, and the dropout children themselves. Without their willing cooperation, this study would have not seen the present shape.

Finally, I owe a special debt to my wife,

Sona,

our son and daughter,

Bipul

and

Sweta,

who spared me and shouldered all the household responsibilities during my heavy involvement in this study

(Binay Kumar Kushiyait, Yadav)

Dated: March,30, 2009 SIRF Fellws, 2007

CONTENTS

Acknowledgements

Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures and Maps

Abbreviations

INTRODUCTION

Social Exclusion: meaning and evolution

Framework for Analyzing Social Exclusion

Social Exclusion and Education

Education For All Programme 2004-2009

Key Challenges to Achieve Universal Primary Education

Conceptual Framework of Primary School Dropout

Objectives of the study

METHODS OF RESEARCH

Research Design

Sample

Sample of Districts

Sample of VDCs and Municipalities

Sample of Schools

Sample of Dropout Children

Sample of Households/Parents

Sample of Focus Group Discussion (FGD)

Tools Used for Data Collection

Procedure of the Study

Statistical Techniques Used

MAJOR FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

Characteristics of Households of Dropout Children

Size of Household

Caste/Ethnicity

Composition of Caste/Ethnicity of Dropout Children

Composition of Social Class Group of Dropout Children

12

12

14

4

5

1-17

1

2

3

4

7

8-11

8

8

8

9

9

10

10

10

10

11

11

12-33

12

12

Mother Tongue

Religion

Dropout Rate

Educational Characteristics

Literacy

Parental Educational Status

Parental concern in education

Economic situation of households

16

18

19

20

21

23

24

24

Household Income Per Capita

Sources of Household Income

Incidence of Poverty

Household Indebtedness

Pattern of Household Expenditure

Education Expenditure Per School Going Child

24

25

25

28

28

28

Quality status of Schools under study

Teachers

Student Teacher Ratio (STR)

Student-Class Ratio (SCR)

Relationship between School Quality and Student Dropout

What forces primary school students to dropout from school?

29

30

31

31

31

32

CONCLUSION 33-34

SUGGESTIONS

Suggestions for Government (MOE/DOE)

35-36

35

Suggestions for School Management Committee (SMC)/Schools 36

Suggestions for Parents

Suggestions for Community

REFERENCE

36

36

37-38

Table 1:

Table 2:

Table 3:

Table 4:

Table 5:

Table 6:

Table 7:

Table 8:

Table 9:

Fig. 1:

Fig. 2:

Fig. 3:

Fig. 4:

Fig. 5:

LIST OF TABLES

Composition of Caste/Ethnicity of Dropout Children in Schools (I-V) of the two Districts (In %)

Caste / Ethnic Composition of Dropout Children in Schools

by Social Groups (In %)

Distribution of Dropout Children according to their Language Spoken at home (In %)

13

14

17

Religion of Parents of Dropout Children in the two

Districts (In Percentage)

Magnitude of Dropouts Rate in Primary Schools under Study by Sex (In percentage)

Magnitude of Dropouts Rate in Primary Schools under

Study by Rural and Urban Area (In percentage)

Status of Adult Literacy in Households under Study

18

19

20 by Gender (In percent)

Educational Attainment of Parents of Dropouts in

Districts (In percentage)

Number of Households under Study Below &

Above Poverty Line Income by District, 2006/07 (In%)

21

23

26

LIST OF FIGURES

Composition of Social Class Group

Language Spoken at home of Dropout Children

Magnitude of Primary School Dropout under Study Area

Adult Literacy in Households under Study

Incident of Poverty of Households under Study Area

15

17

19

22

27

Final Report

SOCIAL EXCLUSION IN EDUCATION:

A STUDY ON SCHOOL DROPOUTS IN

TERAI AND HILL DISTRICTS OF NEPAL

Binay Kumar Kushiyait (Yadav)

Social Inclusion Research Fund

INTRODUCTION

Education is the key to human development and primary education is the foundation of learning. Primary education is a catalyst of social change and empowerment. It helps to overcome the traditional inequalities based on gender, caste and class, just as the removal of these inequalities contributes to the sustainable development of education. Education is widely perceived by the members of socially or economically disadvantaged groups as the most promising chance of upward mobility for their children. For many children, primary schooling is the only opportunity of formal education, as most of them who completes it may not continue further schooling. Therefore, a firm commitment to the widespread and equitable provision of the primary education is the first requirement for eradicating social and economic deprivation. Hence, a study on Primary School Dropouts in Tarai and Hill

Districts of Nepal was carried out with the overall purpose of making an inquiry into the status and causes of social exclusion in education in Nepal, with a special focus on dropout of boys and girls in primary education.

Social Exclusion: meaning and evolution

The concept of 'social exclusion' originated in France. It was first formally stated in

French social policy in the 1970’s and early 1980’s

(Pierson, 2002)

. It is generally accepted that the term social exclusion was first used to describe various categories of people who were excluded from the employment based social security system.

They included the mentally and physically disabled, the aged, abused children, single parents, marginal, asocial persons, 'misfits' and so on, who comprised 10 percent of the French population

(Pradhan, 2009)

. In the beginning, the main concern was to find out ways to bring mentally and physically handicapped, elderly handicapped, abused children and drug addicts’ people into the main stream. Later, it also included other classes of people such as unemployed, immigrants, educationally deprived, and those suffering from weaker position in social network and relation of the society. Thus, the term was continually redefined in the 1980s to refer to unskilled workers, unemployed population, and immigrants (especially

Muslims). Mary Daly and Chiara Saracen show how the concerns of social exclusion extended beyond France and entered both the European community and

EU policy discourses; by 1994, ‘social exclusion had become so important that it was to replace poverty in the nomenclature of the EU programme that was targeted to the most disadvantaged population

(Daly and Saraceno, 2002)

. The issue of social exclusion/inclusion in Nepal was first raised during the Maoist insurgency after 2000. It is to be noted that among the 40-point Maoist demands, 11 were related to social inclusion

(Gurung, 2007)

but the Nation addressed this issue formally in the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007.

The concern of social exclusion enhanced reflection in examination of and response to social consequences of economic change and educational development in international development debates. The notion of social exclusion is largely contingent on the notion of society. Causes of social exclusion are attributed to varying forms of social disadvantage – cultural, political, economic, and social.

Social exclusion breaks social ties between the individual and society, and then institutions fail to solidify these social ties. According to

Daly (1999)

the concern of social exclusion emphasizes participation, involvement and customary way of life as against average income or basic needs/baskets of goods. It is a concept of overall well-being of the disadvantaged people.

According to

de Haan (1998)

, social exclusion is a

multi-dimensional

concept. It refers to exclusion (deprivation) in the economic, social and political sphere. Social exclusion can refer to a state or situation, but it often refers to

processes

, to the mechanisms by which people are excluded. The focus is on the

institutions

that enable and constrain human interaction.

Sen (2000)

explains exclusion in terms of

constitutive relevance

(or intrinsic importance) and

instrumental importance

or consequence as two ways in which social exclusion can lead to capability deprivation.

Framework for Analyzing Social Exclusion

In the report on Social Exclusion in the EU members states for Eurostat

Meyer

(2000) presented a framework for analyzing social exclusion as follows:

Sociodemographic background characteristics

-sex

-age

-type households

-low

-rest

Framework for analyzing social exclusion

population population

Income level: of income

Activity status:

-employed,

-unemployed

-inactive

Indicators of satisfaction:

-with work or main activity

It may be observed from the figure above that level of educational attainment of people is one of the indicators of social exclusion/inclusion. The level of educational attainment contains three aspects of schooling, namely enrolment of students, school avoidance (never attending school), and dropout from school.

Social Exclusion and Education

United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) has asserted that,

"everyone has a right to education."In the context of this reality socially and economic deprived groups of society in Nepal like Dalit, Janjati, Madhesi, indigenous people and girls are found more deprived from basic education as an educational right. Therefore, basic education is the key factor to generate social exclusion and inclusion in the society.

Social exclusion captures an important reality of the disadvantaged groups.

One of the most crucial indicators of social exclusion in the country is the magnitude of large number of illiterate population who mostly belongs to the

Indicators means: of

-Main source of income

-

educational attainment level

-tenure status

Indicators of perceptions

-ability make meet, to ends

-ability to pay for one week’s holiday away from home

historically, socially and economically discriminated groups such as scheduled castes, schedule tribes and women

(Salam, 2004)

. Literacy is a basic tool of social transaction in society. Therefore, in the present context, education is perhaps the most important way available for the excluded to improve their personnel endowment and prepare themselves to ensure their inclusion in the competitive society.

The root of educational deprivation of the excluded community is primarily related to their exclusion from the larger socio-economic, political and cultural processes. It is the discriminatory system that has its own repressions on the education of these communities. Education, as one of the most socially valued attributes, was historically unequal and hierarchicized. Therefore, there is a great need for the country to adopt new policy measures to give equal opportunity of education for all caste, class and region.

Education For All Programme 2004-2009

Inspired from the collective commitment expressed in the Dakar Framework for

Action (DFA) 2000, Nepal adopted the

Education for All National Plan of Action

(NPA EFA) 2001-2015

in 2003. As a strategic programme document for implementing NPA EFA, the Education for All Programme 2004-2009 was developed, which is being implemented since 2004 with the financial and technical assistance of different donor agencies including DANIDA, DFID, Finland, Norway,

World Bank, ADB, JICA, UNESCO, UNICEF, WFP, etc.

EFA draws its programme components from the six policy goals of the

Dakar Framework for Action and one of the most crucial and important goal is

“to ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality”

. It strives for ensuring access and equity, enhancing quality and relevance and improving efficiency and institutional capacity of primary education. The essence of the programme warrants that each child has a right to receive quality basic education and the nation has the obligation to ensure that no child is denied with such education.

Key Challenges to Achieve Universal Primary Education

The achievement of Universal Primary Education is one of the eight Millennium

Development Goals (MDG) adopted by the UN system. In compliance with this goal, the target set has been to ensure UPE by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary school. But, in the

Nepalese context, the attainment of UPE has posed many formidable challenges.

The burning issues of primary education in Nepal are systemic inefficiency e.g.

high dropout and repetition

. Besides, access and equity, quality degeneration, lack of

school community relationship, public-private dichotomy and under- financing are other issues of Primary Education

(Baidya, 2000)

. An issue relating to systemic inefficiency, a particular huge dropout is a great barrier in the achievement of UPE.

There is a great need to remedy the problem of dropout in primary education.

The concept of UPE has three key implications:

First, all boys and girls of primary school age group should be brought into the school system to assure universal and equitable access;

Second, all those who are enrolled should be able to complete the primary education cycle; and

Finally, those who complete the cycle should have gained useful and relevant knowledge and skills.

Internal efficiency is a critical factor in the attainment of UPE. Recently, the

DOE has announced the liberal promotion policy i.e. to promote all children appearing in the final examination, with effect in grade one in the year 2006 and gradual implementation to cover all primary grades in the next five years. This will solve only one aspect of inefficiency, i.e. it will reduce repetition and ultimately cut down the school size. But, the UPE will not be achieved unless the dropout is controlled. Therefore the goal of UPE needs to be more than just putting the students in the system. It should also check the dropout of the enrolled children, and ensure quality learning and the completion of primary schooling by all in a period of five years. In order to control dropout, it is required to make an in-depth study of the problem and identify the causes of dropout. Such an inquiry will help to draw realistic and result-oriented policies and actions so as to check dropout and pave a smooth road map towards education for all. This research work is therefore on humble attempt of the investigator to investigate different parameters of dropouts at primary education in Nepal.

Conceptual Framework of Primary School Dropout

For more than the last four decades, the problem of dropout has been recognized as a great hindrance in universal primary education by UNESCO. Likewise, member countries have been aware that dropout has been an obstacle to the achievement of the targets set out by the Karachi conference in 1960 (

Sattar, 1984)

.

The term 'school-dropout' has emerged from growing concern in the internal efficiency of education system. According to

Castellanos (1988)

, internal efficiency of education is concerned with the relationship between inputs (teachers, educational materials, curricula) and output (pupils scores on achievement tests) within the education system. The issue of internal efficiency is concerned with the

flow of students through the education system, with minimum waste, dropout and repetition. Better the internal efficiency of an education system, higher will be the retention and completion of school education by students enrolled in the system.

Student-flow analysis views education as a

system

, which receives

inputs

in the form of new entrants, transforms these inputs through certain

internal processes

, and finally yields certain

outputs

in the form of graduates or cycle completers.

Student Flow Rates show the internal efficiency of an education system. In order to trace the flow of students through an education system, it is helpful to ask the question at the beginning of each school year: What has happened to the students who were enrolled in a particular grade say grade 1 in the previous year? There are three possible answers, which are mutually exclusive, such as:

They are promoted to the next higher grade (Promotion) or

They are repeating the same grade (Repetition) or

They have dropped out (i.e. no longer in the school system) (Dropout)

Flow of Students from Grade 1 in 2007

Promoted to grade 2

Enrollment in grade 1

Repeating in grade 1

Dropped out

2007 2008

DOE/MOES (2003)

states in their statistical report that the number of students that enters in a certain grade and the number that completes that grade is considered as input and output of the system, respectively. While the promotion demonstrates the efficiency, the dropout and grade repetition show the inefficiency of the education system. The students who leave the system without completing a grade or level are called dropouts. Primary school dropout rate is the percentage of pupils enrolled in given grade or cycle or level of education in a given school year who are not enrolled in any grade in the following school year.

Panchmukhi (2004)

stated in his article that the term dropout is interlinked with the wastage of education. The phenomenon of wastage at different levels of education brings out the importance of socio-economic factors in education.

Wastage, linked with dropping out of children from education before completing a certain duration of an educational course (class, or stage), would amount to wrong use of teacher resources, infrastructure and also time resources of children.

According to

Asharaf (1999)

, a child who abandons a course of study on which he or she has embarked before its completion is called a dropout. Thus, dropout refers to those children who are enrolled in school but who fail to complete

the relevant level of the educational cycle. In the context of the primary level, this means that a dropout child fails to reach the final grade, usually grade 5. Likewise, according to

Price (2007)

, the term dropout refers to an event, such as leaving school before graduating the cycle or without attaining an educational status. As a student leaves a school without completing the set course of the education cycle, he/she is called a dropout.

Sattar (1984)

defines a dropout child as one who enrolls in a school but fails to complete the relevant level of the educational cycle. At the primary level this means that the drop-out fails to reach the final grade, usually grade V. Sattar further states that dropout represents a staggering loss. While dropout is a major problem of efficiency in education system, retention of students in school is its evident solution.

Rao (1996)

states that retention of students in school may be achieved mainly in two ways: first, by reduction of dropout rates between class I-V, and secondly, by improve school facilities so as to provide quality education.

Roderic (1994)

has said that grade repetition may influence school dropout, as high dropout rates are found among students who repeat grades. Grade repetition is, therefore, a great hindrance for efficient education system.

It concludes that dropout is a phenomenon which indicates and perpetuates the inefficiency of education system. Dropout is an alarming factor, as it causes huge wastage of resources and energy. A person who has withdrawn from all courses or grades and who leaves school entirely is known as ‘dropout’.

Objectives of the study

This study was undertaken with following specific objectives:

To examine the status of class-wise dropout at primary education level in respect of gender, geographical region, and rural/urban location;

To identify and analyze the social and economic parameters of primary school dropouts across gender, geographical region and rural/urban location;

To identify the school-related and non-school related causes of primary school dropouts and relate with quality of primary education, based on the interviews and discussion with parents, students, teachers and school related functionaries;

To suggest suitable measures and actions for reducing dropout and improving retention in primary schools.

METHODS OF RESEARCH

This study was based on an in-depth analysis of 72 selected community primary schools, including 36 rural and 36 urban schools, located in fifteen VDCs and two

Municipalities of two districts: Doti, a Hil district, and Rautahat, a Tarai district.

Factors causing dropout children were examined on the basis of a survey of 430 households of dropout children. This was further supplemented by observation of one class in each of the school surveyed. Besides, this study has also drawn information and opinions from FGD sessions with key stakeholders of the primary school system – teachers and headteachers, SMCs, education officers, and dropout children.

Research Design

The method of research adopted by the present study was a combination of

Survey and Ethnographic Research

. Policies and programme interventions were reviewed at the macro level through document analysis and consultations with key policy makers. This study was primarily based on the quantitative data and qualitative information collected through micro-level study carried out in two districts of Nepal, involving school survey, household survey, classroom observation, and FGD sessions with teachers, headteachers, SMCs, dropout students, and education officials including school supervisors and Resource Persons.

Sample

This study has covered 72 primary schools and 430 households in rural and urban areas of two districts in Nepal. Major sample of the study are as follows:

Sample of Districts

The two districts were selected for the study – Doti from among the Hill districts and Rautahat from among the Tarai districts. Doti is situated in the far-western

Nepal, and Rautahat is located in the central Tarai. Both the

Hill and the Tarai districts

were purposively sampled for this study. The Hill district with a municipality and recording the lowest survival rate in primary education among the hill districts and the Tarai district with the lowest survival rate in primary education were selected for the study.

Sample of VDCs and Municipalities

Both of the sample districts had only one municipality each and there was no question of selection. Dipayal-Silgadhi Municipality of Doti district and Gaur

Municipality of Rautahat district were automatically selected. The number of VDCs covered in each district was based on the sampling of schools. The required numbers of rural schools were randomly selected through lottery in both districts. The selected schools covered seven VDCs in Doti, and eight VDCs in Rautahat. Banlek,

Kalena, Kapalleki, Khatiwada, Ladagada, Mudhegaun and Ranagaun VDCs were selected from Doti district and Badaharwa, Dharhari, Dipahi, Garuda Beria,

Hazminia, Jaynagar, Mahmadpur and Pothiyahi VDCs were selected from Rautahat district.

Sample of Schools

As the urban schools were fewer in number in both districts, all of these schools were selected for study. And, for the sake of maintaining comparability in statistical and logical analysis, an equal number of rural schools were selected from among the schools located outside the municipal areas. For this purpose, an equal number of rural schools were selected in each district through purposive sampling. Therefore, this study has covered a total of 72 schools offering primary grades – 46 schools

from Doti district and 26 schools from Rautahat district. This includes 36 rural and

36 urban schools.

Sample of Dropout Children

For the convenience of tracing out and follow-up, only the dropouts of the preceding year were selected for the study. For this purpose, all the sample schools were surveyed, and the cases of dropout in each grade by gender were enlisted along with the home address of the dropout children, using school records. Twenty-five percent of the dropout boys and girls from all primary grades were randomly sampled for contact and in-depth study.

Sample of Households/Parents

In order to examine the social and economic parameters of dropout and retention in primary education, this study has carried out a survey of households of the dropout children. For this purpose, a total of 430 households, randomly selected, were visited and surveyed, including 144 households in Doti and 286 households in

Rautahat districts. Likewise, out of 430 households, 228 households were selected from the rural areas and 202 households selected from the urban areas. In Doti district, out of 144 households, 93 households were interviewed from rural areas and

51 households were interviewed from urban areas by using structured questionnaire.

Likewise, in Rautahat district, out of 286 households 135 households were interviewed from rural areas when 151 households were interviewed from urban areas.

Sample of Focus Group Discussion (FGD)

For the purpose of generating qualitative information as well as to triangulate the findings of the study obtained otherwise, three types of Focus Group Discussions were held in each study site. These FGD sessions were held with relevant staff of

District Education Office (DEO), teachers, head teachers and SMC members, and dropout children. On the whole, 18 FGD sessions were held and a total of 128 persons including 82 men 46 women participated in the FGD sessions.

Tools Used for Data Collection

For the purpose of collecting data different tools of research such as, checklist to identify quality of good primary school (rating scale), school survey form, semistructured interview schedule for parents, classroom observation sheet, and FGD guidelines were developed, validated and used. These tools were:

Checklist to Identify Qualities of a Good Primary School

School Survey Form

Semi-structure Interview Schedule for Parents

Classroom Observation Sheet

Focus Group Discussion (FGD) Guidelines (For Teachers/Headteacher/SMC

Members, for Dropout Children, and for Education Officials)

Procedure of the Study

Research method is determined mainly by the nature of investigation. This investigation was a survey and descriptive research. It makes use of a variety of research methods for different components of investigation. Therefore, this study has made use of different techniques that reveal quantitative as well as qualitative data. Development of various study tools, planning of the field visit in selected district, analysis of primary data and information, analysis of secondary data and information, and triangulation of primary data and information through FGD and consultation meetings with key informants at study sites were major steps of procure of the study.

Analysis of primary data and information

obtained through school survey and through interviews/FGD with parents, dropout children, teachers, head-teachers, educationists, policy makers, educational administrators and managers, and other relevant persons at the national and local levels by SPSS and Excel. Households of dropout children were surveyed for determining their socio-economic parameters.

The unit of study was their family/household. Likewise, the study of the quality of classroom performance through classroom observation in schools under study was also completed. Furthermore, an enquiry was made regarding the systemic effectiveness of schooling and its relationship with dropout and retention was also carried out.

Analysis of secondary data and information

obtained from official publications and records of relevant agencies at national and local levels such as

NPC, CBS, MOES, DOE, DEO, NGOs, donor agencies and international organizations. Government educational policy and plan documents in the primary education sector were also reviewed and analyzed.

Triangulation of primary data and information

through FGD and consultation meetings with key informants at study sites (Both Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis). At the end, appropriate statistical techniques were used for the analysis of data.

Statistical Techniques Used

In order to draw meaningful coherence, the collected data were analyzed by using appropriate diagrams and statistical measures. They are given below.

Diagrammatic and Graphical Representations;

Measure of Central Tendency;

Nonparametric Tests;

Mann-Whitney Test; and

Logistic Regression

MAJOR FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

Key findings of this study are as follows:

Characteristics of Households of Dropout Children

On the whole, boys and girls belonging to the official primary school age-group i.e.

5-9 years old, accounted about 20 percent of the total population, about 19 percent in Doti and 21 percent in Rautahat. Girls accounted 47 percent of the total children belonging to primary school age-group.

Size of Household

The average household-size was 6.3, varying from 6.0 in Doti district to 6.7 in

Rautahat district, and between a low of 2 (one case) to a high of 18 (one case). The size of household was larger in Tarai than in Hills. Most of the households (92.6%) were male-headed.

Caste/Ethnicity

The people of Nepal constitute a mix of a large number of ethnic and caste groups.

As reported by the 2001 Population Census, Nepal is inhabited by one hundred identified ethnic and caste groups. Among them, fifty-nine ethnic groups are identified as distinct cultural groups clustered as

janajati

and 28 cultural groups clustered as

dalits (CBS, Population Monograph, 2003)

. Caste/ethnicity is considered as an important factor in the analysis of status of primary education in

Nepal.

Composition of Caste/Ethnicity of Dropout Children

The caste and ethnic composition of dropout children is reported in Table 1.

Table 1

Composition of Caste/Ethnicity of Dropout Children in Schools (I-V) of the two Districts (In %)

Caste/

Ethnicity

Group

Doti

Boys Girls Total Caste/

Ethnicity Group

Rautahat

Boys Girls Total

Chhetri 48.6 42.7 45.6

Teli/Sudi/Kanu/

Kalwar/Bania

27.2 30.4 28.7

Damai

Kami/Luhar

(hill)

15.0

10.1

13.9

9.4

14.5

9.8

Muslim

Yadav

19.0

10.9

17.3

11.4

18.2

11.2

Bhool 5.6 9.0 7.3 Dusadh/paswan 7.0 7.9 7.5

Parki

Brahmin

Chamar/Sarki

8.0

2.8

2.8

5.6

5.2

1.7

6.8

4.0

2.3

Chamar/Sarki

Mallah/Majhi

Kurmi

7.9

3.5

3.7

4.8

4.8

3.9

6.4

4.1

3.8

Kumhar/Kumal

Sonar

Koli

Kunjeda

Gurung/Tamang

Others*

3.1

1.4

0.3

1.0

0.7

0.3

1.0

2.8

2.8

1.4

1.4

3.1

2.1

2.1

1.6

1.2

1.0

1.7

Tatma

Chhetri

Chanau/Chandrabansi

Brahmin

Koiri/Kuswaha

Hajam

2.7

2.0

1.2

2.0

1.3

1.5

1.3

1.7

2.4

1.1

1.7

1.1

Dhobi/Baitha 1.3 1.3 1.3

Note: * Others include Malasi,

Newar, Tharu, Chunara & safari.

** Others include Sonar, Khatwe/Kahar,

Bhumihar, Mali, Kayastha,

Newar, Chaurasia, Tharu, Gurung/Tamang.

Lohar/Barhi (Tarai)

Giri/Puri/Sanyasi/Yogi

Nunia

Kumhar/Kumal

Dom/Halkhor

1.5

1.2

1.3

1.2

0.5

1.1

1.1

0.9

0.7

1.5

1.3

1.1

1.1

1.0

1.0

Dhanuk/Mandal

Others**

1.0

2.0

0.7

2.9

0.9

2.5

Source: Household Survey, 2007/08

It may be observed from the table above that the caste and ethnic composition of the dropout children in the two districts under study markedly differs from each other. Dropout children of Doti belonged to 17 different caste- and ethnic- groups. However, about 46 percent of them belonged to one single caste group called Chhetri. Five backward caste groups namely Damai, Kami, Bhool,

Parki and Chamar lumped together constituted 40.7 percent of the total dropout children. In the case of Rautahat district, the dropout children belonged to 29 caste

2.0

1.8

1.8

1.6

1.5

1.3

and ethnic group. The group commonly called Sah, which includes Teli, Sudi, Kanu,

Kalwar, and Bania, constituted more than one fourth (28.7%) of the total dropout children. Six socially backward caste groups namely Paswan, Chamar, Tatma,

Dhobi, Dom/Halkhor and Khatbe grouped together accounted for another 28.7 percent of the total dropout children. Muslims accounted for a substantial portion, i.e. 18.2 percent of the total; and Yadav constituted 11.2 percent of the total dropout children.

Composition of Social Class Group of Dropout Children

In the data reporting system of the Ministry of Education of the Government of

Nepal, educational status and performance indicators are reported in terms of three broad social caste and ethnic groups of children such as Dalit children, Janjati children and children belonging to other caste groups. The intention here is to present a picture which helps to quickly assess the continuity and change in social equity regarding access to and completion of primary education. Therefore, in order to make the findings of the study fit into and comparable with the reporting framework of the Ministry of Education, the data shown in Table -2 has also been re-grouped into three broad social classes.

Table 2

Caste / Ethnic Composition of Dropout Children in Schools by Social Groups (In %)

Social

Class

Dalit

Boys Girls Total

41.6

Doti

39.6 40.6

Boys

19.8

Rautahat

Girls Total

17.5 18.7

Doti & Rautahat

Boys

26.9

Girls Total

25.2 26.0

Janjati

Others

5.2

53.1

6.6

53.8

5.9

53.5

Source: Household Survey, 2007/08

8.1

72.1

8.5

74.0

8.3

73.0

7.1

66.0

7.8

67.0

7.5

66.5

It may be observed from the table above that the socially and economically deprived castes collectively called ‘dalit’ accounted 26.0 percent of the total dropout children in the primary schools under study. The number of dropout children belonging to ‘janjati’ group was 7.5 percent of the total. Other caste groups which do not belong to either of the two classifications –

dalit and janajati

– accounted for

66.5 percent of the total dropout children.

The magnitude of primary school dropout of

dalit

children varied between the two districts covered by the study. The proportion of

dalit

children in the total dropout cases is as high as 40.6 percent in Doti, a hill district, as compared to 18.7 percent in Rautahat. But it does not indicate that the tendency of dropout is less among the

dalit

households of Rautahat than among the

dalits

of Doti. The lower enrolment of Dalit children in study sites of Rautahat district as compared to those

of Doti district is the main reason behind smaller proportion of

dalit

children in the total dropout cases.

Caste/Ethnic composition of dropout children in schools under study by social groups has been depicted through the pie diagram given below:

Fig. 1

Composition of Social Class Group

Doti

40.60%

53.50%

Dalit Janjati Others

5.90%

Rautahat

18.70%

73%

Dalit Janjati Others

Doti and Rautahat

8.30%

26%

7.50%

66.50%

Dalit Janjati Others

The study indirectly indicates that

dalit

children have a tendency of dropout more than other caste groups. According to the 2001-Census Report, the share of the

dalits

in the total population was 24 percent in Doti and 13 percent in Rautahat district

(CBS, 2003)

. This is convincingly low as compared to their shares in dropout children in both districts. For instance, the share of

dalits

in total dropout is

about 41 percent in Doti and 19 percent in Rautahat. More or less similar picture was observed in urban primary schools of both districts. The share of

dalit

children in the total dropout cases of Dipayal-Siulgadhi Municipality was 44 percent of the total, which was much higher than the share of the

dalits

in the total population that was 21 percent of the total. Likewise, the proportion of

dalit

children in the total dropout cases was about 21 percent of the total in Gaur Municipality, which was higher than the share of the

dalit

in the population that was about 13 percent.

The message is clear: whether it is in the Hill or the Tarai, or in the rural or urban areas, children of

dalit

households face a greater risk of being driven away from a primary school. The probability of retention in primary education is clearly weaker for the

dalit

children as compared to their counterparts belonging to other caste or ethnicities.

The study has indirectly indicated that dalit children have a stronger tendency to drop out from school than children of other caste groups. The probability of retention in primary education is clearly weak for the dalit children as compared to their counterparts belonging to other castes or ethnicities.

Mother Tongue

Nepal is a multi-ethnic nation, comprising various ethnic and religious communities.

Its ethnic and religious diversity is coupled with its linguistic plurality. The 2001-

Census has identified 92 languages spoken as mother tongues. The

mother tongue

has been defined as

the language acquired first by children in their childhood from their parents and used in their households since they start speaking

(Yadav, 2003)

.

It is said that prior familiarity with a language used as the medium of instruction in a primary school is a great advantage for a child to learn better in school. Since better learning at school not only enhances quality of education but also strengthens the chance of retention at school, the language spoken by children at home should have a logical relationship with the probability of dropout from school. Mismatch between the medium of instruction at school and language spoken by children at home is considered as an important factor in primary school dropout.

Therefore, the present study has undertaken an investigation into the language spoken at the households of the dropout children (Table-3).

Table 3

Distribution of Dropout Children according to their Language Spoken at home (In %)

Language Spoken by children at home

Nepali

Doti

98.6

Rautahat

2.1

Bhojpuri/Bajika

Others (Newari and Urdu)

0.0

1.4

Source: Household Survey, 2007/08

Fig. V.2

Language Spoken at home of Dropout Children

97.2

0.7

Doti

1.4%

0.7%

98.6%

Nepali New ari

Rautahat

2.1%

97.2%

Nepali Bhojpuri/Bajika Urdu

It may be observed from the table above that there was a clear variation in the linguistic composition of the households in the two districts. Nepali was a mother tongue in the case of about 99 percent of the dropout children in Doti district, whereas Bhojpuri, locally called Bajika, was a mother tongue in the case of about 97 percent of dropout children in Rautahat district. Newari was the mother

tongue in the case of about 1 percent of the households under study in Doti. Nepali and Urdu as the mother tongue were found only in about 2 percent and 1 percent of the households respectively in Rautahat. Nepali is the medium of instruction in primary schools of both districts. It is interesting to observe that Rautahat, where only two percent households speak Nepali as the mother tongue, records a higher primary school dropout rate than in Doti district where about 99 percent households record Nepali as the mother tongue.

Religion

Nepal continued to remain a Hindu nation for a long, long time. According to the

Census of 2001, Hindus constitute 80.6 percent of the total population in the country, followed by Buddhist (10.7%), Islam (4.2%) and Kirat (3.6%). However, very recently, Nepal has been declared as a secular state. The composition of the households under study by religion is reported in Table 4.

Table 4

Religion of Parents of Dropout Children in the two Districts

(In Percentage)

Religion

Hindu

Islam

Doti

100.0

0.0

Rautahat

76.6

23.1

Total

84.4

15.3

Buddhist 0.0 0.3 0.2

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Household Survey, 2007/08

It may be observed from the table above that the two districts vary in their composition of religion. In Doti all the households were Hindu but in Rautahat only about 77 percent were Hindu and the rest were mostly Muslim. Therefore, Muslim children evidently appeared in the scenario of primary school dropout in this district.

A large number of Muslim parents still want to send their children to Madarsas or

Mokttam than to a mainstream primary school.

Dropout Rate

The magnitudes of dropout in primary schools of Doti and Rautahat districts are presented below in Table-5.

Table 5

Magnitude of Dropouts Rate in Primary Schools under Study by Sex

(In percentage)

Grade

Grade I

Grade II

Grade III

Grade IV

Grade V

Doti Rautahat Total

Boys Girls B&G Boys Girls B&G Boys Girls B&G

8.7

6.4

7.9

7.2

8.3

6.8

11.6

12.2

15.1

17.5

13.3

14.5

10.3

9.5

11.6

11.8

10.9

10.6

4.3

5.5

7.8

4.9

4.8

9.3

4.6

5.1

8.5

13.2

13.0

15.1

14.1

15.0

11.2

13.5

13.7

13.8

9.4

9.4

11.9

8.6

8.9

10.1

9.0

9.1

11.2

Grade I - V 7.2 7.0

Source: Field Survey, 2007/08

7.1 12.5 15.2 13.6 10.1 10.8 10.4

It may be observed from the table above that the tendency of dropout rate was found relatively higher among the girls as compared to the boys. The incidence of dropout was highest in grade 5, followed by grade 1, 2, 4 and 3. The incidence of dropout was lowest in grade 3 (See Fig.3).

Fig. 3

Magnitude of Primary School Dropout under Study Area

Doti and Rautahat

12

10

8

6

4

2

0

I II III

Grades

IV V I-V

Boys Girls Boys and Girls

The rates of dropout by rural and urban areas are shown in Table 6.

Table 6

Magnitude of Dropouts Rate in Primary Schools under Study by Rural and

Urban Area (In percentage)

Grade

Grade I

Grade II

Doti Rautahat Total

Rural Urban Total Rural Urban Total Rural Urban Total

10.2 6.0 8.3 10.5 15.9 13.3 10.4 11.5 10.9

Grade III

Grade IV

Grade V

8.3

4.4

7.0

16.1

5.3

4.8

3.5

3.6

6.8

4.6

5.1

8.5

17.3

13.0

16.7

14.0

12.0

14.0

11.2

13.6

14.5

13.5

13.7

13.8

12.6

8.7

11.6

14.9

8.7

9.4

7.1

8.1

10.6

9.0

9.1

11.2

Grade I - V 9.1 5.1 7.1 13.2 14.1 13.6 11.1 9.7 10.4

Source: Field Survey, 2007/08

It may be observed from the table above that the overall dropout rate for all rural primary grades was 11.1 percent, whereas it was 9.7 percent for all urban primary grades. There was rural-urban disparity occurs in dropout rate. The dropout rate for rural schools exceeds that of the urban schools by 1.4 percent.

The rate of dropout widely varied across grades, between districts, between rural and urban schools, and across socio-economic strata of the children. Students’ dropout rate was found relatively higher in grades one, two, and five, and relatively lower in grades two and three. The dropout rate was higher in Tarai schools (13.6%) than in Hill schools (7.1%). Likewise, it was 11.1 percent in the rural schools vis-àvis 9.7 percent in the urban schools. In general, the tendency to drop out from school was found higher among girls than among boys, higher among rural children as compared to their urban counterparts, and in Terai than in Hill areas.

Educational Characteristics

The schooling pattern of the children belonging to the official primary school age group revealed some interesting features. The number of children aged 5-9 years was 540, including 286 boys and 254 girls. Less than half of them (49.8%) were

‘currently attending school’ during the time of survey. The proportion of currently school-going children was 58.0 percent in the case of boys and 40.6 percent in the case of girls. While 21.9 percent of them (16.1% boys and 28.3% girls) had never been to a school, 28.3 percent of them (25.9% in the case of boys and 31.1% in the case of girls) had been once to school just to drop out. The proportion of dropout children was more than 28 percent of the total. There was wide disparity in schooling pattern of primary school age-group children between the two districts. It

was clearly observed that the Tarai district lagged considerably behind the Hill district in all aspects under consideration of the schooling pattern of primary school age children.

Gender disparity in schooling pattern was alarming in both districts. Girls lagged behind boys in getting a place in school by 17 percentage points. Likewise, the tendency of school avoidance was much higher among the girls than among the boys. The incidence of dropout, though terribly high among both boys and girls, had again afflicted a larger proportion of girls than boys.

Literacy

Literacy is the most generally used indicator to quickly assess the status of educational development in a household at the micro level or a country at the macro level. It is also believed that the literacy status of a household plays an important role in the enrollment of children as well as in their retention in or dropout from school. Therefore, this study has made an attempt to examine the literacy status of the households. The status of adult literacy among households is shown in Table 7.

Table 7

Status of Adult Literacy in Households under Study by Gender (In percent)

Doti Rautahat Total

Literacy status

Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total

41.7 78.1 59.3 61.8 90.2 75.3 55.3 86.2 70.1 Illiterate

Literate 58.3 21.9 40.7 38.2 9.8 24.7 44.7 13.8 29.9

Source: Household Survey, 2007/08

It may be observed from the table above that 70 percent of the population aged 15 years and above was found illiterate, varying between 59.3 percent in Doti and 75.3 percent in Rautahat. More than 86 percent of the female population of this age group was illiterate as compared to 55 percent in the case of male population. In both the cases of male and female adult literacy, Doti district fares better than

Rautahat (See Fig.4).

100

80

60

40

20

0

100

80

60

40

20

0

80

60

40

20

0

Fig. 4

Adult Literacy in Households under Study

Doti

Male Female

Illiterate Literate

Rautahat

Male

Illiterate Literate

Female

Doti and Rautahat

Male

Illiterate Literate

Female

Parental Educational Status

Parental education is a great factor in the education of children. It is interlinked with the learning environment of children at home. Therefore, this study has attempted to identify the educational status of parents of dropout children. The educational status of parents of dropout children has been given in the Table 8

Table 8

Educational Attainment of Parents of Dropouts in Districts (In percentage)

Educational Status Doti Rautahat Total

Illiterate

Literate only

Primary

Mother

80.8

14.6

3.8

Father

66.2

29.4

2.2

Mother

90.6

6.4

1.5

Father

81.0

9.7

3.0

Mother

87.4

9.1

2.3

Father

76.0

16.3

2.7

Secondary 0.8 2.2 1.1 2.6 1.0 2.5

SLC & beyond 0.0 0.0 0.4 3.7 0.2 2.4

Source: Household Survey, 2007/08

[

Note: Fathers were contacted father in 405 out of 430 households, in 136 out of

144 households in Doti and in 269 out of 286 in Rautahat. Out of 430 households surveyed, the mothers of dropout children were traced and contacted in 396 households, which includes 130 households in Doti and 266 households in

Rautahat.]

It may be observed from the table above that 76 percent of the fathers were themselves illiterate – 66.2 percent in Doti and 81.0 percent in Rautahat; and 16.3 percent could only read and write – 29.4 percent in Doti and 9.7 percent in Rautahat.

Illiteracy and educational backwardness of father is again linked with high dropout and low retention of children. For instance, Doti district which has a relatively better educational status of father than Rautahat has recorded a comparatively lower rate of dropout in primary education. It thus follows that parental literacy and education have a convincing relationship with the likelihood of children to retain in or dropout from primary school. In Doti, parental literacy despite being absolutely poor is relatively better than in Rautahat. And, Doti records a lower rate of dropout between the two districts.

Mother’s attitudes towards education of children are very much influenced by their own education. As mother is primarily responsible for the upbringing of children, her education is very important from the perspective of children’s education. It is believed that educated mothers are more inclined to schooling and education of their children. So, it is rightly said that educating the mother is

educating a child. As above table shows that, 87.4 percent of the mothers were themselves illiterate – 80.8 percent in Doti and 90.6 percent in Rautahat. Likewise, 9 percent of them were just literate – 14.6 percent in Doti and 6.4 percent in Rautahat.

It follows that illiteracy or poor education of mother is a critical factor behind high dropout and low retention of children in primary education. This point is further substantiated by the higher incidence of dropout in Rautahat district than in Doti where the illiteracy of mother is relatively higher.

Parental concern in education

FGD sessions were held with parents to capture their views and concerns regarding the value of education and the causes of dropout of their children from school. It is found in general that the level of parental awareness and interest in education was very low. This is indicated by some of the statements frequently made by the parents in interview sessions. Parents again and again said during the FGD sessions:

“Ghar ma khana kehi chhaina, kahan bata bacha lai school pathaune; pheri bacha lai school pathauna kharcha pani ta chaina”

(We have no food at home, how can we send children to school and again how can we pay school expenses for sending our children?). Some parents also flatly said: “

Bacha aphai school jana chahadaina hami le ke garne?

(The child himself or herself does not like to go to school, what can we do?). Parents were found telling more about their helplessness but less about their responsibilities regarding education of the children.

Interviews with parents also revealed a tendency of gender discrimination against the schooling of girls. Parents were found saying:

“Chhori aru ko ghar ma janchhe kina padhaunu paryo”

(In future, daughter goes to other’s home, so why should we send them for study?)

.

Economic situation of households

Though public primary education is declared ‘free’ in Nepal, there are many direct and indirect costs involved in education, which have to be borne by the parents of the children, enrolled in school. So, in practice, primary education is not a free good.

The costs of schooling not only create a barrier against the enrolment of poor children in school but also weaken the prospect of their retention in school.

Therefore, the economic situation of household is one of the major determinants of dropout and retention of children in primary education.

Household Income Per Capita

Per capita income is said to be a better indicator of household economic situation.

On an average, the level of per capita income in the households amounted to Rs.

7,107 which varied between a low of Rs. 857 to a high of Rs. 25,250 per annum.

Rural-urban disparity was evident in the per capita level of income. The average per

capita income in rural households was Rs. 6,632 as compared to Rs. 7,643 in the case of urban households. The average per capita income per year in Doti district was Rs. 6,449 as compared to Rs. 6,632 in Rautahat district. In terms of per capita income of both rural and urban households, Doti, a hill district, look poorer than the households of Rautahat, a Tarai district.

Sources of Household Income

The main sources of income in the households under study were wage labour, agriculture, livestock raising, service, small shops and petty trading, tradition-based cottage crafts and trades, and income from remittances.

Incidence of Poverty

Poverty is viewed as a pronounced deprivation in well-being. It encompasses not only material deprivation but also low achievement in education and health.

Describing the conditions of the poor people, the

World Bank Report (2000-01) says

:

“Poor people live without fundamental freedoms of actions and choice that the better-off take for granted. They often lack adequate food and shelter, education and health, deprivations that keep them leading the kind of life that everyone values.

They also face extreme vulnerability to ill health, economic dislocation, and natural disasters. And they are often exposed to ill treatment by institutions of the state and society and are powerless to influence key decisions affecting their lives. These are all dimensions of poverty

.” The same report says, “

For those who live in poverty, escaping from poverty seems impossible. But it is not impossible

.” Education is one of the ways towards poverty reduction. But, at the household level, poverty is seen both as a cause and an effect of educational backwardness.

In Nepal, widespread poverty remains a persistent and critical problem. The incidence of poverty is very high and the number of poor is rising. According to the latest poverty estimate, 30.8 percent of the population in Nepal subsists below the poverty line, which varies between 9.5 percent (urban areas) and 34.6 percent (rural areas)

(CBS, 2005)

. The proportion of the population afflicted by poverty is 27.6 percent of the total population in the Tarai region vis-à-vis 32.6 percent in the

Mountains and 34.6 percent in the Hills. The incidence of poverty is disproportionately higher in the rural areas, especially in less accessible regions, and among the socially backward caste groups traditionally labeled as

dalit

and the ethnic minorities.

An attempt has been made in this study to depict the situation of poverty in the survey areas. For this purpose, the incidence of income poverty in the households under study has been estimated using the national poverty line income per capita as the threshold point. The latest estimate of poverty in Nepal was carried

out in the year 2003/04 by the Central Bureau of Statistics of the Government of

Nepal, which established N Rs. 7696 at the current market prices of the year

2003/04 as the national poverty line income. Since the present household survey collected information on household income and expenditure for the year 2006/07, the said figure of the poverty line income was inflated for the year 2006/07 by using the GDP deflator adopted by the Economic Survey Report of the fiscal year

2006/07. Thus, the national level poverty line income per capita of N Rs. 8363 was derived and used as the threshold to analyse the incidence of poverty in the households under study. The incidence of poverty in the households under study is reported in Table 9.

Table 9

Number of Households under Study Below & Above Poverty Line

Income by District, 2006/07 (In%)

Doti Rautahat Doti & Rautahat

Particulars

Rural Urban Total Rural Urban Total Rural Urban Total

Households below

Poverty Line 83.9 64.7 77.1 70.4 66.2 68.2 75.9 65.8 71.2

Households above

Poverty Line 16.1 35.3 22.9 29.6 33.8 31.8 24.1 34.2 28.8

Source: Household Survey

It may be observed from the table above that the incidence of poverty among the households of the primary school dropout children was alarmingly high; 71.2 percent of the households under study (306 out of 430) were found to subsist below the poverty line income. The proportion of poor households was 77.1 percent in

Doti and 68.2 percent in Rautahat. Likewise, the incidence of poverty in the rural households was higher than in the urban households. Rural-urban difference in poverty was more pronounced in Doti district, where the proportion of the poor households was about 84 percent of the total in the rural areas as compared to about

65 percent in the case of urban households. The incident of poverty of households under study area has been depicted through the pie diagrams in fig. 5.

Fig. 5

Incident of Poverty of Households under Study Area

Doti

23%

32%

Households below Poverty Line

Rautahat

77%

Households above Poverty Line

29%

Households below Poverty Line Households above Poverty Line

Doti and Rautahat

68%

71%

Households below Poverty Line Households above Poverty Line

Poverty has many implications of concern in the education of children. To begin with, it compels children to be at work when they should be in school. It either

results in school avoidance or in irregular attendance, poor performance, and eventually dropout from school. Poverty-afflicted parents need children more for work and income at home. Thus, poverty enhances dropout from and reduces retention at school.

Household Indebtedness

Poverty had compelled a large number of poor families to borrow even to meet their survival needs. Two-thirds of the total households had taken loans from different sources. The average size of loan taken by the households was Rs. 16,519 per household, which varied from a low of Rs. 5000 or less (13 cases) to a high of more than Rs. 50,000 (5 cases).

The households have borrowed money to meet their daily needs for survival, for social customs, and medical treatment. About 20 percent of the households had also borrowed loan for the education of their children. The magnitude and purposes of household borrowing also substantiate the existence of poverty in the households under study.

Pattern of Household Expenditure

The largest chunk of household expenditure was spent on food item - in both districts and in both rural and urban households. On the whole, spending on food constituted 63.4 percent of the total expenditure, which varied between 62.4 percent in the urban and 64.4 percent in the rural households, and between 62.6 percent in

Doti and 63.8 percent in Rautahat. It is found that about 7 percent of the total household expenditure was spent on clothing and an almost equal proportion of expenditure on health purposes. It is interesting that households’ spending on festivals and social customs as percentage of total expenditure exceeded the amount spent on clothing or health by about one percent. While basic needs such as food take away a large chunk of expenditures only about 3 percent of the household expenditure is spent on education - 2.3 percent in Rautahat and 3.9 percent in Doti.

Meanwhile, a significant proportion of expenditure is made on alcohol/tobacco – about 6 percent of the total expenditure in both rural and urban and both hill and tarai households.

Education Expenditure Per School Going Child

On an average, the level of educational expenditure per primary school going child amounted to Rs. 1,828 which varied between a low of Rs. 250 to a high of Rs. 1,828 per annum. The average educational expenditure per primary school going children per year in Rautahat district was Rs. 1816, lower than that of Doti district ( Rs.

1,846).

Situation of gender disparity in household spending on education is informed

by status of educational expenditure per primary school going girls and boys. On the whole, average spending per girl child at primary level was N Rs. 1,827 per annum as compared to Rs. 2022 spent per primary-school-going boy. There existed a strong evidence of gender disparity in educational expenditure per primary school going children between the Hill and the Tarai district.

Many of the dropout children were found economically active, supporting their poor parents. This establishes that economic hardship of the households is a very important cause of dropout in primary school. Household economic status has a strong say in dropout and retention in primary education.

Quality status of Schools under study

This study also attempted to examine the relationship of primary school dropout and retention with the quality of school in terms of selected criteria relating to physical facilities, quality of teachers and headteachers, use of teaching learning materials, learning environment at school, student, teacher and school support system, school management, and parent-school relationship.

Though all schools had their own building, about 35 percent schools did not have adequate number of classrooms. About 39 percent schools had no play ground, while about 51 percent of these schools had no compound at all. About 53 percent schools lacked adequate desk/bench or other good sitting arrangements for students.

About 31 percent of the schools lacked drinking water facilities. About 14 percent schools had no toilet facilities, whereas about 38 percent schools had no separate toilet for girls. About 60 percent of the schools faced the problem of teacher inadequacy. Most of the teachers (90.3%) were not used to preparing a lesson plan for classroom teaching. Only 37.5 percent schools were fully staffed by fully trained teachers. There was not even a single female teacher in six schools. About 24 percent headteachers were untrained; about 49 percent headteachers had no training in primary school management. Only 22 percent of them were used to preparing a work plan for school. The proportion of headteachers having a clear vision regarding how to lead the school ahead was only about 69 percent of the total. On the whole, about 76 percent headteachers were found to have maintained school records properly.

Unavailability of textbooks in time was a great problem in schools under study, afflicting 61 percent of the schools. About 36 percent of the schools did not have a copy of the primary school curriculum, and about 60 percent of them did not possess teachers’ manual. Understandably, 68 percent schools were not used to using supplementary books and reading materials. However, many of these schools had regular instructional materials such as black board, charts, globes, maps, etc.

But, about 7 percent schools did not have a blackboard in each classroom, and 60 percent of the schools did not have a school calendar. Only about 7 percent of the

surveyed schools were found used to using local teaching materials.

Child friendly teaching methods help to enhance the learning capacity of the student. But, it was used only in about 17 percent schools, in about 24 percent schools in Doti and 4 percent schools in Rautahat. Continuous Assessment System

(CAS) was found prevalent only in 25 percent schools. All surveyed schools used

Nepali as a medium of instruction. On the whole, about 37 percent of the schools under study recorded a students’ pass rate of 90 percent or above.

In schools of both districts, the conditions of games, sports, dance and music were found to be poor. On the whole, only about 49 percent schools have provision of games and sport, whereas only about 29 percent schools have organized dance and music competition. In both activities, schools of Rautahat district fare poorer than those of Doti district.

Relationship between school and community is a critical factor in the development of an effective school system. But, only in 36 percent of the schools under study, parents were found frequently visiting school and discussing their wards' performance with teachers. Though about 83 percent schools had parentteacher association (PTA), they were not functional in most cases.

Student support system was found weak in schools of both districts under study. Only about 14 percent schools had made provision of extra coaching for weaker students. Likewise, individual attentions paid to students and students’ attendance of 90 percent and above were found only in 21 percent and 13 percent of the schools, respectively.

Teacher support system is found weak in schools of both districts. Schoolbased refresher training was found to be at place only in about 14 percent schools.

However, 75 percent schools reported that they were professionally supported by school supervisors, resource persons and head teachers.

About 46 percent schools reported that they had been regularly supervised by District Education Office (DEO), but about 47 percent schools were found disturbed by lack of the release of the school budget in time.

Good management is the foundation of a ‘quality school’; and this is the idea behind the mandatory formation of SMC in each school. Above 97 percent of the schools under study had formed SMC, but only about 53 percent schools arranged

SMC meeting at least once a month. Meanwhile, about 36 percent SMC members were not familiar with their roles and responsibilities.

Teachers

The total number of teachers in the schools under study was 327, including 129 female (39.4%) teachers. There was not even a single female teacher in six schools, four in Doti and two in Rautahat. The proportion of trained teachers (teachers completing training required to be qualified as fully-trained teacher) accounted

about 72.2 percent of the total. However, the gender disparity in the proportion of trained teachers was evident. Among 72 schools under study, only 22 schools were fully staffed by fully trained teachers, while 4 schools did not have even a single fully trained teacher. There was not even a single trained teacher in eight schools.

Student Teacher Ratio (STR)

The overall STR in schools under study was 52.2: 1, which was slightly lower in comparison to the national average of 54.7: 1. However, STR varied across geographical regions, across rural and urban areas, and across schools. For instance, the STR in Doti (hill) was 45.5, which was lower than 59.9 in Rautahat (tarai).

Likewise, the STR in an urban school was 49.0 vis-à-vis 55.7 in a rural school.

More strikingly, the STR in individual schools under study varied between a low of

13 (Hill school) to a high of 121 (Tarai school).

Student-Class Ratio (SCR)

On an average, there were 49.6 students per class in the primary schools under study. The SCR in Doti (Hill) was 38.6, which was tremendously lower than 65.9 in

Rautahat (Tarai). However, the SCR did not vary much widely between a rural

(48.8) and an urban (50.4) school.

Relationship between School Quality and Student Dropout

In order to see the relationship between dropout rate and some indicators that possibly are the causes of dropout, all the 72 sample schools were ranked low, middle and high according to the rate of dropout, and for this purpose quartiles were used. The set of 18 schools among the total samples of 72 that has the lowest dropout rate were considered ‘Low’. Similarly the 18 schools with highest dropout rate were considered ‘High’. The remaining 36 schools with dropout rate at the middle were considered ‘Moderate’. Computing this quartile based dropout rates, a comparison was made with other characteristics of the schools so graded. A number of interesting interrelationships were observed. For example, it was found that above

70 percent of the low dropout schools had adequate classrooms, whereas only about

60 percent of the high dropout schools had inadequate classrooms. Likewise, above

80 percent low dropout schools had comfortable sitting arrangement in classrooms, whereas less than 60 percent of high dropout schools had comfortable sitting arrangements.

In low dropout schools, textbooks were made available in time, and these schools also were found using more of the local teaching/learning materials as compared to high dropout schools. It was also observed that the chances of dropout were low in schools having a school calendar and using child-friendly teaching methods. Likewise, lower dropout schools give individual attention to students, and

applied CAS. Students’ attendance was found higher in low dropout schools. It was also observed that the chances of dropout were lower when there was regular school supervision by District Education Officer. High dropout schools were the ones which were less supervised by DEO. Likewise, the chances of dropout were lower when parent teacher associations (PTA) were active and when parental support to school was evident. The chances of dropout were low when teachers took class regularly. Lower dropout schools were the ones where teachers took class regularly

(about 100%). On the other hand, only in about 65 percent of the high dropout schools, teachers were found taking class regularly.

In consideration of the nature of data collected in this study, nonparametric statistical tests, namely Mann-Whitney U test and Binary Logistic Regression were carried out to examine the relationship between dropout and other categorical variables. As shown by these two tests, the significant indicators of student dropout were: toilet for girls, adequate number of teachers, professional commitment and motivation of teachers, availability of primary school curriculum in school, use of local teaching materials, 90 percent or higher pass rate of students, parental support to school, 90 percent or more attendance rate of students, and regular school supervision by DEO. These indicators are found statistically significant with regard to the dropout rate as groping variables .

The dropout rate diminishes with increases of above indicators like toilets for girls, adequate teachers, students with full textbooks, primary school curriculum, continuous assessment system (CAS), and 90 percent and above student attendance.

The above results show that toilet for girls (separate toilet) decreases the dropout rate about 2.5 times or in other words it can retain the students about 2.5 times higher. Similarly, adequate teachers (5 teachers or more) can improve the retention of student about 2.7 times higher or can reduce dropout to about 2.7 times higher and 90 percent and above attendance rate of student can reduce dropout to about 2.7 times higher or improve the retention of student about 2.7 times higher.

What forces primary school students to dropout from school?

Although the causes of dropout pointed out by different types of respondents were more or less similar, there were clear differences in the emphasis laid on these causes. For instance, the causes of dropout more recurrently cited by parents were either related with household poverty that either made them unable to meet educational expenses or compelled them to keep children at home either for gainful work or for other house-works releasing the earning members of the households to engage in earning activities. Parents have also pointed out the ineffectiveness of school as a reason for student dropout. On the other hand, dropout children very frequently said that they were not comfortable at school, nor were they able to learn at school. Teachers were found frequently finding the main reasons for dropout in parental demotivation, household environment, and disinterestedness of students.

Likewise, education officers pointed to parental negligence, lack of parent-teacher relationship, children being needed more at home for earning or other housework, poor attention of teachers as the causes of dropout. Thus, it seems that the reasons for student dropout in primary education lie in three major areas – household poverty and parental negligence, ineffective and unattractive school environment, and lack of interaction and relationship between parents and teachers. Students’ disinterestedness is the outcome of the interplay of these three factors, and their dropout from school is the unfortunate outcome.

CONCLUSION

The conclusions of this study are as follows:

A large number of primary school-age children in Nepal, belonging to poor families and backward communities, have a poor access to primary education. More than 50 percent of these children still remain out of school. Gender, social, and geographical inequities in primary education are wide. This poses a formidable challenge to the achievement of the goal of Education for All.

The magnitude of dropout in community primary schools of the districts covered by the study – Doti and Rautahat – is alarming. The incidence of dropout is spectacularly high among the poor and disadvantaged children. If the current rate of dropout is not checked, the attainment of the goal of UPE and EFA would not be anything more than a 'wishful thinking'.

There exists disparity in dropout across gender, grades, and social and economic strata of dropout children. Girls and children of the poor and disadvantaged families are more victimized by the tendency of dropout. If unchecked, such a disparity will mock the philosophy of social transformation through education. This will rather speckle the prospects of socio-economic equality and harmony.

The causes of student dropout are many and diverse. There are many economic and social reasons compelling students to drop out from school.

Meanwhile, there are also a number of school-related, family-related and studentrelated causes of dropout.

Major school-related factors such as teachers’ absenteeism, irregular operation of school, lack of child-friendly environment in school and demotivating school environment as the causes of driving students away from school. It is seen that there exists convincing relationship between the quality of school and the magnitude of dropout or retention in primary education. Dropout was found low in good quality schools where physical facilities were relatively better, which had more trained, motivated and committed teachers, where the proportion of female teachers was high, where the school was lead by a committed, motivated and dynamic headteacher, where students were taught in child-friendly ways and using local

teaching materials, where the school was well managed with frequent meetings and interaction with parents, and where the schools have been backed by regular supervision of the DEO, active PTA, and regular parental supports.

It is also observed that household poverty and economic hardships are important reasons behind the high dropout and low retention of children in primary education. The economic characteristics of the households of dropout children clearly show that those unfortunate children hail from poor families. The parents of dropout children are either landless or are very small farmers. Their incomes are low and insecure; their sources of livelihood are a mix of irregular activities, consisting mostly of tilling small plots of land, working as wage labourers at home and abroad, and, to some extent, as lowly paid employees or petty traders. A large majority of them have to borrow even to meet the bare needs of survival. Treatment of illness and celebration of social rituals are almost impossible to be done without falling in new debts, further worsening the economic hardships. Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that the amount of money spent on the education of children is quite low. But, for meeting even such meager education expenditures, many families have to resort to borrowing.

The economic hardships of the families have made it difficult for them to meet expenditures associated with the schooling of children. This affects the quality of learning on the one hand and motivation of children on the other. Both of these effects lead to poor performance irregular attendance at school and, eventually, to dropout from school. Moreover, children are more needed at home to assist their parents in income generation activities or to take over the charge of housework for freeing them to go in for earning than at school, the economic return of which, as viewed by many parents, is uncertain and, if there is any, not immediate. Survival is always the first priority; and schooling always loses in trade-off between education and work. This is evident in the existence of child labour in an enormous scale.

Many of the dropout children were also found engaged somehow or other in earning for healing the poverty of their parents. The legislation against child labour has not worked much. It cannot work either as long as there is the threat to the very survival of life. Poor families always tend to prefer a bird in hand to two in the bush. Many of the parents were not found worried at the dropout of their wards from school, nor are the children afflicted by it. It is only the teachers and education officers who were found unanimously anxious about the problem of dropout in primary education. It appears that the problem of primary school dropout and retention has been able to attract the attention of the supply side of the equation. But, the demand side – the children and their parents – have not yet been either able to afford to release their children totally from household chores due to economic hardships or are not yet fully aware to be more committed towards the enrolment and retention of their children at school.

There are also child-related reasons for dropout such as lack of interest in

study, irregular attendance, late entry into school, etc. Children’s association with bad company at school or neighbourhood is also a responsible factor in student dropout in primary education. But, most of the child-related causes of dropout are either related with the quality of school or with the environment at home.

If the problem of dropout in primary education is to be solved, remedial actions are needed that address and also involve all stakeholders of the primary education system. The wisdom is to act in concerted spirit by all – parents, teachers, head teachers, SMCs, and education officers and the government. The children and the community should also be made aware of the afflictions caused in family and community by student dropout in primary education.

The following measures are suggested to address the problem of high dropout and low retention in primary education. For clarity and convenience, these suggestions are stated in terms of actions to be undertaken by different stakeholders of the primary education system.

SUGGESTIONS

Suggestions for Government (MOE/DOE)

On the basis of field observations the following actions are suggested for the

Government (MOE/DOE):

Make provision for full scholarships (covering all school-related expenses) to the poor and disadvantaged children;

Additional funding for ensuring the supply of basic physical facilities and educational materials in school;

Enhance teacher quality through recurrent school-based training in child-friendly teaching methods;

Provide incentives to poor and disadvantaged parents for the retention of their children in school;

Introduce flexible school schedule & hours;

Provide textbooks on time;

Introduce alternative education provisions for dropout children;

Introduce literacy campaign for parents to enhance literacy status of mother and father;

Train headteachers in effective primary school management;

Provision of using two languages (including mother tongue) as medium of instruction;

Review teacher recruitment policy to encourage recruitment of local and female teachers.

Suggestions for School Management Committee (SMC)/Schools

On the basis of field observations the following actions are suggested for the

School Management Committee/Schools:

Establish a system of regular teacher-parent interaction;

Introduce the follow-up of dropout children and parental counseling;

Supply stationery free of cost to poor children;

Make school uniform optional for children;

Introduce child-friendly teaching method;

Maintain discipline at school;

Remove admission fee;

Give social recognition to parents sacrificing for children's education;

Pay individual attention to student performance;

Make provision of extra-curricular activities in school;

Depoliticize school environment;

Maintain violence-free school environment;

Make Provision of midday meal/Tiffin for poor students;

Provide extra coaching for weak students;

Introduce flexible school hours according to the need of the community;

Monitor school activities, teacher performance and behaviour by

SMC.

Suggestions for Parents

On the basis of field observations the following actions are suggested for parents:

Pay adequate attention to children both at home and school;

Participate in school activities;

Reduce involvement of children in housework and earning activities;

Ensure admission of children in school at the correct age;

Suggestions for Community

On the basis of field observations the following actions are suggested for the community:

Enhance community support to school for controlling dropouts;

Monitor school activities, teacher performance and behavior;

Assist to conduct literacy campaigns and ECD classes;

Take interest in school activities.

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