The Role of Parents, College and Community in Preventing and Addressing Dropouts

The Role of Parents, College and Community in Preventing and Addressing Dropouts

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Preventing and Addressing Dropouts

Education promotes both personal and economic development and is considered a fundamental human right. The key to developing human resources lies in providing appropriate education to individuals at the right time. Education opens doors to better career opportunities and more lucrative self-employment prospects. It also helps students develop cultural values and beliefs.

College Education and Dropouts

After high school, students eagerly seek opportunities to enroll in their dream colleges. Achieving their educational objectives not only enhances their professional prospects but also provides valuable life experiences. However, many students discover the hard way that college is not accessible to everyone, and the reasons for this can vary. As a result, only a small percentage of the numerous students enrolled in colleges and universities go on to complete their academic studies. Worldwide, a significant number of students dropout of college each year, which has adverse effects on economic and social well-being, lowers the nation’s literacy rate, and stifles innovation.

Survey Reports

  • Data from the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) reveals that 13 out of every 100 Indians between the ages of 5 and 29 did not attend school or college or dropped out because they did not consider education “necessary.” 
  • A recent survey by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) states that 33% of girls drop out of school due to domestic work and 25% due to marriage. 
  • According to the PAB, the dropout rate in the 2020-21 academic year at the secondary level was 21.4% in Bihar, 23.3% in Gujarat, 23.8% in Madhya Pradesh, 16.04% in Odisha, 16.6% in Jharkhand, 26% in Tripura, and 16.6% in Karnataka. 
  • Additionally, according to the Ministry of Education, over 19,000 students from OBC, SC, and ST categories dropped out from various courses at central universities, IITs, and IIMs from 2018 to 2023.

Reasons for Dropouts

In our nation, it is customary for students to complete their education before entering professional life. Academic challenges and the family’s financial demands are two of the most common reasons students leave school. In rare cases, dropouts may result from negative influences such as bad company, alcohol and drug use, poor health, grade retention, disengagement in class, lack of quality education, inadequate preparation in lower classes, lack of appropriate guidance, mental illness, disabilities, and other factors. Another notable factor contributing to college dropouts is the high fee structure of colleges. In many cases, students’ interests do not align with the high fees, leading them to discontinue their higher studies.

Although there are numerous reasons why students discontinue their education, it is not a favorable decision as it can negatively impact their overall development and future prospects.

Also read: How to Know If a College Is For You: Making an Affordable Choice

Transition Points

Over the years, it has been recognized that four key transition points are crucial for keeping students on the path to graduation and preventing dropouts. These transition points highlight the importance of academic, social, and community support in ensuring successful transitions. The four transition points are:

  1. The early years of schooling
  2. The transition to middle grades
  3. The transition to high school
  4. The transition to college and careers

In line with the goal of retaining students at all levels, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 recommends that the government prioritize the provision of “effective and sufficient” infrastructure. This includes ensuring access to safe and engaging school education at all levels, from pre-primary school to class 12, as well as regularly trained teachers at each stage.

Role of Parents, College and Community in Preventing and Addressing Dropouts

To ensure that students complete their education, it is essential for them to receive strong support. This support will ultimately benefit them in leading happy and healthy lives. Parents and the community play a vital role in preventing and addressing dropouts, as emphasized in the NEP 2020’s multi-pronged strategy to curb school dropout rates.

As Parents:

  • Focus on student goals: Instead of fixating on educational weaknesses, encourage your child to identify what they want to achieve from the college experience. Prompt them to discuss any obstacles they are facing at work, college, or home.
  • Encourage college involvement: Motivate your child to attend college regularly and participate in extracurricular activities. Involvement fosters a sense of belonging and motivates students to excel academically.
  • Consider alternative college settings: Consult with the college psychologist or counselor to determine if the student’s goals can be met in the current learning environment. If not, request suggestions for alternative learning environments that align with the student’s aspirations.
  • Focus on realistic post-college goals: Instead of solely focusing on college attendance, consider achievable post-college goals. A two-year community college program or post-college technical training may be better suited to meet the student’s objectives and prepare them for employment.
  • Identify special needs: Engage with college staff to explore whether the student has any specific behavioral or learning issues hindering their progress. Assessing potential challenges can help identify additional support services to enhance your child’s college experience.

As Educators:

  • Involve parents: Encourage parents to actively support and motivate their child. Host parent-teacher conferences to establish an initial connection and foster collaboration.
  • Make connections with at-risk students: Build relationships with at-risk students, providing open and honest communication while instilling hope for their future.
  • Promote extracurricular activities: Involve students in extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs to increase engagement with college life.
  • Assign academic advisors: Have academic advisors regularly check in with students throughout the college year to provide guidance and support.
  • Connect lessons to the real world: Incorporate real-world applications into lessons through educational tours, projects, experiments, and other interactive activities.
  • Challenge advanced students: Recognize and challenge academically advanced students. Provide opportunities for them to take college-level courses while still in high school.
  • Enhance accessibility: Whenever possible, make college more accessible for students with other responsibilities. 
  • Consider hosting classes at night or on weekends to make up for missed lessons.
  • Reduce educational costs: Explore options to reduce the cost of education, such as providing free books or offering fee discounts. 
  • Additionally, provide scholarship facilities to deserving students.
  • Support mental health: Offer mental health support through school counselors, online counseling resources, and promoting self-care practices.
  • Teach career and life skills: Educate students about careers, skills, and the realities of salaries, and discuss how education leads to career opportunities.
  • Implement mentoring or tutoring programs to provide emotional and academic support to students.
  • Offer community resources and engage students in activities during their free time to prevent them from associating with negative influences.
  • Educate students on effective study habits for college and equip them with the necessary skills to succeed while still in school.
  • Give special attention to at-risk students.
  • Be vigilant for warning signs that indicate a student may be at risk of dropping out.

Also read: 8 Awesome Organizations That Help Low-Income Students Get Into College

As a Community:

  • It is essential for every stakeholder to be aware that the prevention of school dropouts requires a combination of measures in various areas. These include education, improvement of socio-economic conditions, utilization of free time, promotion of communication, modeling of positive behavior, and enhancement of environmental conditions. Additionally, out-of-school-time programs, particularly those based on the arts, play a crucial role.
  • Efforts should be made to understand the dropout crisis within the community and the level of preparedness of schools in addressing this issue. This involves identifying the factors contributing to the dropout crisis and assessing the resources currently dedicated to resolving it.
  • It is necessary to integrate the fundamental elements of a quality education with targeted prevention, intervention, and recovery initiatives to effectively combat the dropout crisis. These efforts should focus community resources, endeavours, and reforms on the critical turning points where students are most at risk of veering away from the path to high school graduation.
  • It is also important to organize a sustained, community-wide campaign to eradicate the dropout crisis. This requires mobilizing the necessary human and financial resources for an extensive and prolonged campaign, as well as implementing evaluation, accountability, and continuous improvement mechanisms.

When parents, colleges, and the community as a whole are actively involved in preventing and addressing dropouts, students are more likely to achieve high grade-point averages, excel on standardized exams or rating scales, enroll in challenging academic programs, succeed in their classes, attend school regularly, exhibit enthusiasm for learning, graduate from high school, pursue postsecondary education, and refrain from engaging in destructive behaviors such as drug and alcohol use and violence.

Student Loans: A Way Forward

To lead a happy, wealthy, and prosperous life, it is crucial for every student to obtain a quality education from a reputable college or university. However, the cost of such an education is becoming increasingly burdensome. In the current situation, many parents find it challenging to afford their children’s educational expenses. Consequently, they face a decision between paying these costs out of pocket or opting for a student loan

Taking out a student loan is often considered a preferable option for financing education. These loans are specifically designed to assist students who aspire to pursue post-secondary education but face financial constraints. They provide support for covering associated costs, tuition fees, books, and other essential expenses.

Leaving college prematurely does not need to be a permanent setback. Students should be aware that they have the opportunity to return and complete their degrees in the future with the help of studen loan companies. Graduating from college holds immense importance, and it is essential for students to have access to comprehensive information regarding what to expect. By providing students with accurate expectations and support, we can help prevent early dropouts and ensure that more individuals successfully complete their education.

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