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TRUANT CASES

By smartideazent Oct 11, 2013 944 Words
One major issue that schools are currently facing and seeing little or no improvement with is effectively dealing with student absenteeism and truancy. My school, SK Menggatal is no exceptional school from this problem. Truancy according to Oxford Advance Learners’ Dictionary is ‘the practice of staying away from school without permission’. I have been trying very hard to motivate my pupils to come to school every day to study and enjoy coming to school even to the extent of caning those who play truant every now and then. I also explain and remind them that truancy may lead to bullies, snatch thieves, robbery, cigarettes, drugs, gangsterism and crime but it has fallen into deaf ears. I realize that the issue cannot be handled and solved by myself. I need all the teachers cooperation but that is what I could not get yet. Truant cases has been for many years but recently it has become more serious as the number of cases rises sharply either those who truant alternately or continuously. Class teachers play a very important role in this case. They take attendance of pupils every day in and out of the school ‘without fail’. The problem is, they fail to take attendance every day. The reasons are, teachers go out for courses and nobody to take over the class attendance. Secondly, there are a few teachers who take pupils attendance lightly, which means the attendances are not taken every day. Thirdly, teachers who take attendance every day but do not bother about pupils who are absent, whilst no follow-up with their parents or care-taker on informing them about their children’s absents. When the class teacher fail to take actions, I as a discipline master in this school could not perform my duty perfectly in the school. Reminders have been given every now and then but it has fallen on deaf ears. The second party that plays the ultimate role is the family. The family factor in my school include lack of guidance or parental supervision, domestic violence, poverty, drug or alcohol abuse in the home, lack of awareness of attendance laws, and differing attitudes towards education. The most common case in my school is lack of guidance or parental supervision. The parents have no or little time to supervise their children at home. This is because both parents have to work in order to support the family economical value. Some parents leave their children at home and hoping that everything will be fine when they go to work but it is not always the case. Most parents leave their children with their baby sitter which is much better than leaving their children alone at home. The problem is, the children are not supervised from the moment they walk out of the house and to the school. This is when the truant comes into play. The biggest problem though is not identifying the truant cases but to convince the parents about their children’s bad activity. Most parents could not accept their child’s misdeed until they come to school and checked the attendance themselves, which I would prove it using the pupils’ attendance book. So, whatever the problem is, the roots always comes from the teachers playing their role diligently and take immediate action of pupils absent seriously. Last but not least is the community itself the pupils are leaving in. Although not mentioned specifically, the community significantly influences the occurrence of truancy as well. Community factors are folded into the above two areas. For example, economic conditions and differing culturally based attitudes toward education are also important factors in the community. The pupils usually do not play truant far from their house. The community in their living area may actually get hold of these pupils and take them to the school, but sadly this happens once in a blue moon. The community may also report pupils with school uniform who enters cybercafé but again, this has never happen before. The cybercafé is still running their business as usual and pupils are faithful patrons of these arcades. The question is; why hasn’t the community report this unlawful activity to the party responsible to take legal action against these arcade operators. I as a discipline master had advised this during the Parents Teachers Association meeting but nothing had happen until today. I had also spoken to the authority responsible but as long the community in that particular area does not make a report, they could not do anything about the mushrooming arcades. ‘Teachers’ power and boundary is within the school compound and we are not supposed to interfere with the problems that happen outside the school compound.’ That is the reminder given to us by the ministers. Nonetheless, the truant problem must be looked into seriously by everyone involved directly like teachers, parents and community or indirectly like the authorities responsible to curb this problem. I hope ‘too late’ incident like the collapsed of Highland Tower do not have to happen in order for these parties to realize the important of curbing truant problem at the root itself. Another life must not be taken in order to put truant to a stop. We do not want to see another family to suffer just to realize the mistake we are doing. Truant cases can be stop and reduce significantly if only all parties mentioned above plays active role in curbing this waiting to go out of hand. I alone, as a discipline master can’t do it but if all the teachers put their minds together and give full cooperation, I am sure we can see a better future for all our children.

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