Nishtha khunger, Medhavi sood and Saloni bhatti ,
DELHI UNIVERSITY (undergraduates final year)
Student Absenteeism-According to Merriam Webster Dictionary
means chronic absence. In the context of the school it is the
habitual /intentional failure from going to school.
The problems of absenteeism begin in primary school and
continue into secondary school, which makes early intervention
necessary to try to prevent students from continuing on this path
throughout their educational experiences (Reid, 2005).
To explore the Sociological, Psychological & Educational
cause for Student‟s Absenteeism.
To study the pattern of attendance and enrolment in
To assess the effect of student Absenteeism on learning
To study the demographic profile of the students.
To find out the problems in schools related to participation
in terms of dual enrolment/irregular attendance/frequent
To study the causes of dual enrolment /irregular
attendance and frequent absenteeism.
To provide suggestions for policy makers, administrators
to reduce Student Absenteeism in the schools.
The study was an exploratory study to find the reasons for
student absenteeism in primary schools in Delhi.
The sample was collected from 5th class students of
government schools, only those students who had
attendance below 40% in the month were selected as a
sample. The Primary sources of data collection were
attendance registers( May-October(ongoing till Dec) 2012 )
, previous annual records , secondary sources include that
of teachers , principals & classmates . The data collected
till now is from MCD schools and Kendriya Vidyalaya
Sangatan schools (i.e. north , south & west zone). Also the
teachers, principal & parent (wherever possible) of the
school were interviewed. The study has used qualitative
techniques where analysis has been done with the help of
questionnaires, audio & video recordings and
The main focus is to observe class V students for 4-5
days and then interacting with students with
irregular and low attendance. With respect to
students from each class, interaction with around 4-5
students has been done with semi structured
questionnaire and interview. Their parents were also
being interviewed wherever possible( personally or
telephonic) andNon participant observation has been
used for collecting data from classroom
The sample consist of 170 primary students from
Delhi. There would be detailed profiling and
case studies of each has been collected and
A specially designed questionnaire has been
administered on the students and teachers which
would consist of certain dimensions like1. (a) Physical/health factors
2. (b) Personal Attitude
3. (c) Teacher-Related Reasons
4. (d) School/classroom Atmosphere Related Factors
5. (e) Home / Family/Financial Related factors. Interviews
and case studies would be conducted to know the causes
of student‟s absenteeism.
PRIMARY SOURCES :– ATTENDANCE REGISTERS,PREVIOUS
SECONDARY SOURCES :- TEACHERS, CLASSMATES & PRINCIPAL
INCLUSION CRITERIA :- Students of vth class & govt schools were
EXCLUSION CRITERIA :- Students other than class vth & from private
schools and non profitable trust were excluded.
Chart no 1. - Depicting number of students
, schools, teachers and principals in MCD Schools
no of students
no of schools (32)
no of teachers
no of principals (13)
Chart no 2 - depicting number of students , schools
, teachers & principals of KV Schools
no of students (45)
no of schools
no of teachers
no of principals
Graph no 1 - Depicting student absenteeism in
different zones of MCD Schools in delhi
Graph no 2 - Depicting student absebteeism in south
and west zone of KV's in delhi
According to students
According to teachers
According to principals
Illness was mainly the reason for As they go back to meet their As their exams are over so they get
family or because of marriage
absent & come back till the
end of July or august.
Going back to their village for
family visits or for marriage
(excluding south zone)
As girls have to do household Also finance of the family is an
work, they don’t get time to
important reason as to feed
complete their home work&
the family becomes a priority
so get absent
rather than providing them
. Illness due to lack of hygiene
Taking an off for cleaning their The financial position of the family
home (only in north zone) .
is also a reason.
Taking care of their younger sibling Due to dual enrollment also they
get absent .
On their birthdays ( in case of
north zone only)
A - Physical factors of school ( for example lack of hygiene
facilities in school ,as toilets were always dirty and were never
cleaned properly , also girls were not allowed to pursue their
studies further .
B - Health factors (one of the major factor for absences was
illness ,for example fever/flu were the most common found in
almost every school .)
C - Personal/social/home related ( it include reasons like not
interested in going to school due to which they also become a
truant, not able to get time for homework as they are busy doing
household work because their parents are busy earning money
for family survival , get absent when their parents are ill , also
they go back to their village for marriage or for harvesting
purposes ,as Students come from poverty, & their parents are not
able to provide for their schooling needs , parents do not see
education &learning as a priority within their family values and
so it is not the top most priority for them, at time they (students)
also have to look after their siblings or elderly persons and also on
their birthdays they used to be absent .
D - Teacher related (they are not able to understand the lessons
that the teacher is teaching them ,the teacher is abusive &
discriminatory (caste/class/religion), as a result of which they are
scolded & beaten up , also no help is provided when the student is
E – Environment/peer group (for example having no proper
playground & swings to play, the mid day meal provided is also
not healthy as insects & bunches of hairs are found in it , also there
are problems related to transportation and bad weather.)
Thus as the child is absent from school it eventually would lead to
low social and academic skills among students, as he/she is in no
longer in contact with his peers and would not be having those
necessary skills that is assumed to be there in him/her by others at
that point of age .Also a greater risk of dropping out early from
school is found in those students which in future would lead them
to engage in antisocial activities like being involved in crimes –
stealing, intake of alcohol ,drugs etc.
My Mother keeps going to my relatives place so I have to do all
household chores and take care of the younger siblings.
My mother works as domestic help in the homes so I have to
take care of the house- cook, clean home, utensils, mop etc.
The father does not have job.
The students usually go back to their village for 2-3
months(harvest season, marriage, illness).
The teachers beat us and give us punishment.
The difficulty of coping up after prolonged absence.
Not able to understand the lessons.
The class work is quite boring and too much emphasis on
Teachers don‟t help much except providing note books, they
don‟t have time for us.
They don‟t have money to come to school.
Teachers enquired about the reasons for the
absenteeism of children from their peers, community
They were aware of the socio- economic profile of the
students and their needs.
Teachers response was they were sick or have gone to
Teachers have too much of administrative work.
These students are not interested in learning and
come only for money or mid-day meals.
All the teachers said they were providing help extra
coaching to these students within school hours.
Tuitions and stay back not allowed under RTE.
Student Absenteeism is part of a larger social problem
Students come from poverty.
.• Parents cannot provide for their schooling needs.
Money is used toward food rather than school supplies .
Families are barely making ends meet, so education is not the
No other choice but to leave children home.
Have to work to get money.
Girl child education was being neglected
Students have to take care of their siblings because the
parents have to work and there are no other options
Parents do not see education &learning as a priority within
their family values
Parent‟s prior lack of commitment to education influences
• Miss out on class work/assignments
• Classroom connections are not made
• Fall behind in school work
• Poor social skills
• Isolation from friends
• Failure to be passed to the next grade
factors contributing to students not attending
• Poor health
•Unsupportive family environment
In almost all schools : tendency to mark the attendance of
students even though they were not present.
Teachers emphasis for these students was mainly to score pass
The teachers did not provide any extra help to these students
except providing notebooks.
The students were enrolled in more than one school also.
No emphasis on Learning outcomes of the students.
The teaching methods used were quite traditional .
Pre Service Teacher Training : Artcraft/ Theatre/Dance/
Drama/ Sports to be part of the curriculum & used regularly.
Better coordination b/w Teacher Training institutes & schools.
Teacher Accountability was almost absent.
No monitoring of Quality within the classroom.
Girl child-needs, aspirations, concerns to be addressed.
Greater coordination/communication b/w parents & teacher.
Attendance Policy needs to be strengthened and use of technology to be
Shift in policy from enrolment to retention of students.
Retention and sustenance of the students needs further strengenthing by
Shift in the evaluation strategies from marks alone (Pass Percentage).
The curriculum should be more participatory and greater participation of
Education of the Girl child needs further strengthening.
Need to have greater role of the SMC‟s so as to reduce Student
Greater coordination between teachers and parents and the community.
There should be coordination between pre- service teacher training and
Quality standards to assess students learning outcomes.
Studies show that higher attendance is related to higher
achievement for students of all backgrounds (Epstein and
There is a close association between access, regular attendance
and learning outcomes leading to meaningful access which
“requires high attendance rates, progression through grades with
little or no repetition and learning outcomes that confirm that basic
skills are being mastered” (Lewin,2007).
This is true in the case of India where research suggests that
there is an urgent need to improve the physical infrastructure,
use of TLM (teaching learning material), availability of
teachers and their presence in the school (Kremer et al. 2005;
Mehrotra et.al, 2005; Jha and Jhingran, 2005).
The causes of absenteeism include demand issues such as
health problems, demand for paid or unpaid children‟s work,
school phobia, anxiety and truancy among children (Kearney
and Silverman, 1993).
Particular groups of children belonging to
disadvantaged communities and living in remote
areas are vulnerable to these problems (Govinda and
Bandyopadhyay, 2008; Pratham- ASER Report, 2007).
Living in a poor family or a low-income family
greatly increases the chances of being an at-risk or
chronic absentee (National Centre for children in
poverty Columbia University, 2007).
Factors such as parental education and the
socioeconomic situation of the children are associated
with absenteeism (Drèze and Kingdon, 1999).
Caste also plays an important role. Children
belonging to scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled
tribes (ST) and „other backward castes‟ (OBC) are less
likely to go to school than children belonging to
general castes (Drèze and Kingdon, 1999:17).
On average, children missing 10% or more of
the school year scored five points less than did
those who were absent up to 3% of the school
year in kindergarten. (National Centre for
children in poverty Columbia University,
. By the fifth grade, however, American Indian
children continued to miss, on average, twice
as many school days as their peers. (National
Centre for children in poverty Columbia
The result indicates that there are a number of reasons
responsible for student absenteeism i.e.
a) psychological reasons like low self esteem, not able to
understand le which results in boredom and lack of
b) educational reasons include lack of awareness among
parents, influence on learning outcomes.
c) Social reasons like lack of support from family &
community, health related issues , corporal punishment
, taking care of young ones as parents are busy earning
money for family, visiting village for many reasons ( ex.
Marriage, vacation) , neglecting education for the girl child
,time table related issues , infrastructure , economic reasons
and migration to the villages for harvesting season, reasons
like bad weather, transportation problems
The sample size is small as only vth standard
from government schools is included which
needs further studies.
The number of schools covered was limited
due to lack of support from the higher
The quantitative analysis is in the procees
because it is a research project under delhi
The major emphasis is on the causes of
absenteeism as it is a time bound study.