Out of School Children in Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia

Abdulaziz Hussien, Hussien Kedir

Abstract


The purpose of the study was to assess major factors that keep children out of school and create pressure on students to drop from the second cycle primary education in Oromia Regional State. Based on the purpose of the research, three basic questions were drawn to guide the entire research. The research method employed was a concurrent mixed model using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. A blend of survey design with deep analysis of cases at the woreda and school levels was used. Multiple instruments (questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions) were used in collecting data. Educational officials working at the various levels of the system, school principals, teachers, parents of the OOSCs and PTAs, KETBs and dropouts were used as sources of data. Various documents (policies, strategies, programs/ESDPs, annual statistical abstracts and related documents were also used as secondary sources of data. The reflection of those who were truly part of the problem was reported from the point of insider’s view. Different sampling techniques such as simple random sampling, purposive sampling, snowball sampling and availability sampling were used. The sample zones, woredas and schools were selected randomly. Overall, 34 woredas and 68 primary schools were used for the quantitative data while 10 woredas and 10 schools were used for qualitative data. The quantitative data were systematically organized, categorized and tabulated using SPSS and excel packages. Statistical tools (graph, tables, frequencies, percentages, weighted means values were used. The qualitative data gathered through interviews and FGDs were coded and organized into a variety of meaningful themes through case-by-case and cross case analysis. .The findings of the study revealed that the Out of school children (OOSC)including dropouts were mainly from the poor parents engaged in hand-to-mouth economic activities, farming, pastoralist and agro-pastoralist activities, weaving and other small business (vender). The unfriendly nature of the schools and the direct costs and contributions expected of parents and students were reported as concerns. The findings of the study revealed that socio-cultural and economic factors like early marriage and teenage pregnancy, inclination towards religious education, less value given to education by parents and their low involvement in education of their children and the need for child labor were reported among the barriers that kept children out of schools. Conversely, it was revealed that child related factors (lack of interest for education, illness or disability among children and over-agedness) and school related factors were not among the major causes that kept children out of school. On the other hand, the findings revealed the existence of policy and public supports as well as the commitment of authorities (provision of free textbook, expansion of schools to rural areas as well as the abolishment of school fee) to encourage and attract OOSC to schools. Based on the findings, the researchers recommended creation of the required level of awareness among the local communities and parents, and promoting the education of parents themselves through various modalities, creation of attractive school environment, designing support mechanisms that enable parents to generate better income and thereby send their children to school that may mitigate the root causes of out of school children.   


Keywords


Out of School Children, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia

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