How Truancy Affects Students Performance

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Against the backdrop of recent mass failures in National Examination Council (NECO) and West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations, Taiwo Olanrewaju and Rosemary Akano report on one of the causes of the failure.

IT was about 11a.m. and these reporters was rushing to work when a young boy of about 13-years ran after her, shouting “aunty, aunty” to attract her attention. She stopped, wondering what the matter could be. The unkempt boy ran to meet up with her and begged her for money to feed.

Our reporter asked so many questions at the same time and discovered that the boy had run away from home for some time and had not had a bath for some weeks. His story his mother had separated from his father and remarried. He wanted to go to school but his father chose a vocation mechanic apprenticeship for him. He said he was put in the care of a muslim cleric but because he had exhausted his feeding allowance, he was on the street begging for money.

The lady gave the boy an option – to be taken home or be returned to the cleric. The boy was eventually reunited with his family members who claimed that that was not his first time of running away from home or would be brought back.

Like the 13-year-old (names withheld), who has made it an habit to run away from home, his Quranic and training schools, it has become a trend nowadays for students, especially those in secondary schools to stay away from school.

Truancy it is called. According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, truancy is any intentional unauthorised absence from compulsory schooling. The term typically describes absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate “excused” absences, such as ones related to medical conditions. But the term’s exact meaning differs from school to school, and is usually explicitly defined in the school’s handbook of policies and procedures. It has no relation to homeschooling, although sometimes parents who practice home schooling have been charged with this. It may also refer to students who attend school but do not go to classes.

This worldwide phenomenon is a cankerworm that has been destroying many students, irrespective of gender. It has rendered so many useless, with the cumulative effects on their families and even countries. Truancy has turned many students into failures, leading to inability to succeed in both internal and external examinations. In some schools abroad, truancy may result in ineligibility to graduate or to receive credit for classes attended, until the time lost to truancy is made up through a combination of detention, fines, or summer school. But unfortunately in Nigeria, there is no penalty for it and neither are there handbooks of policies and procedures in schools.

Why play truancy?

Some students stay away from school for several reasons, including family’s poor standard of living, whereby parents cannot provide necessities of life for their children. Such students would not want to be in the class so as to avoid embarrassment from teachers and even their peers. Autism has prevented some other students from being present in the school. Other students engage in truancy because of selfish interests or bad influence from peer groups. In fact, this particular case presents the most common factor, causing about 50 per cent of students not making themselves available in school. Some prefer partying, preferring to spend time in parties, visiting their boyfriends, sugar mummies and playstations instead of being in classrooms engaging in useful activities. The most painful thing is that so many times, their parents might not know what their wards have been up to and even when they know, they could do little or nothing to make amend.

Years back, a student was in discussion with the Nigerian Tribune on what his life had turned to because of truancy, he said truancy had set him backward. According to him, since he was in the junior class in the...
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