The Common Problem Of Absenteeism In The Field Of Education

2520 words - 10 pages

The Common Problem of Absenteeism in the Field of Education

Absenteeism is a common problem encountered by teachers and others who work in the field of education. There are many reasons why some children fall into a pattern of repeated absence from school. In a number of cases, willful absence can be traced to an alienation from schooling due to poor achievement, family circumstances or behavioral causes. In some cases, parents or children simply defy the requirement to participate. This area is one in which the need for partnership between school and family is greatest. While many schools provide successful alternative programs or absenteeism intervention strategies, there will be cases where, despite the best efforts of schools and parents, the children stay away. It is clear that any unauthorized absence is of concern because of the valuable educational time which is lost and because the absence of some children is associated with inappropriate behavior in the community. Different types of absenteeism will be discussed during this essay but the main focus will be directed at truancy in which the causes and remedies will be evaluated.

The different types of absenteeism is truancy, exclusion, school closure, school phobia or other absences due to illness or bad behavior (teachers sending pupils out of class due to poor behavior). Although children who are sent outside the class are not entirely absent from the school, this can be identified as absence as they are not participating in class. It seems that none of the various Education Acts defines truancy and nor is this lack supplied the case laws. Nor indeed have the various researchers agreed a definition. Must every child who is absent from school for whatever be classified as a truant? This is the opinion of Reynolds and Murgatroyed (1977 ? cited in Galloway, 1985). The definition of truancy can be narrowed down by suggesting that a child who plays truant is absent from school without leave, so excluding those children who are certified or accepted as too ill to attend. This still includes those children who are absent with leave given by their parents or who are actually kept at home by their parents (Galloway (1982)). The definition of truancy can also be narrowed by Tyerman (1968), who reserves the term for children who are absent from school purely on their own initiative (Tyerman This is the definition adopted by Galloway (1985). However, Hersov (1977) goes still further dividing from truants, ?school phobics? and school refusers, many of whom depending on how they are in turn defined will be absent on their own initiative. Since the term has been given different meanings by different writers, the literature cannot be regarded as dealing with an homogeneous subject. Conclusions reached in one study of truants cannot automatically be regarded as supported or disputed by conclusions reached in another. It is clear that care must first be taken to ensure that the same or at least...

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