Khartoum, Jan. — School dropout is a complete or partial interruption of going to school, It is a phenomenon that is not only related to education, but extends to the economic system, social structure and the stability of family.
One of the reasons of school dropout is reasons related to student himself such as Learning difficulties, involvement in the labor market, low academic achievement, and other reasons.
There are also reasons related to the family, including the family’s lack of awareness of education and economic status, as well as early marriage for girls.
There are also reasons related to the school, including violence, bullying by teachers, student violence with each other, as well as the lack of sufficient and attractive activities and the unprepared school environment.
Moreover of those reasons there are social reasons related to the unstable situations inside the child’s family as well as the Security situations which hold up students going to school in some areas.
Schools dropout causes to raise rate of violence against children, therefore, it was necessary to shed light on this phenomenon with specialists, and to discuss ways to solve and reduce it.
Dr. Ikhlas Abbas Mohamed, Director of the Psychological Counseling and Safety Unit in educational institutions at the Ministry of Education, counted the reasons for school dropout and said that school dropout is a concern phenomenon, adding that one of the reasons for school dropout among children is the economic situation, as some families prefer that their children go to the market and work to help the family to be a source of income for the family, which is a kind of exploitation and child labor ,which is against the law, adding that there is a kind of partial dropout that occurs after the third period in some areas, where most of the students go to earn for a living and find income for the family; In this regard, the Sudanese Coalition for Education for all made families to be aware of the importance of education and that the child must be in the field of education.
Dr. Ikhlas added that students’ violence or teachers’ is also one of the reasons for dropping out, and it results in the child’s lack of self-confidence and consequently a lack of comprehension of lessons, where the child has an assignment and does not complete it, and for fear of the teacher’s punishment, he does not attend the concerned class or does not go to school, and thus the dropout occurs; When the dropout occurs and the child goes to the street, he is exposed to violence, exploitation and things that are not appropriate for his age.
Another type of violence is verbal violence, as Article (29) of the Child law of 2010 strictly forbids exposing children to insulting words. Therefore, the Ministry of Education created alternatives to violence in the so-called list of prohibited penalties and issued a guide for educational alternatives to corporal punishment, and a number of teachers were trained on it, but it has not yet seen the light.
Ikhlas pointed out that the regulation of alternative punishment was issued in 2015 , but was not signed because it was rejected by a number of teachers, assuring that there is a movement and advocacy by the “Journalists for Children “Organization and the National Council for Child Welfare to issue this regulation since the year 2020 and it has been ratified and is under implementation.
Expulsion due to school fees
Ikhlas denied that there are fees set by the Ministry of Education for students to pay, and if they are not paid, the students would be subjected to expulsion, adding that the Ministry’s motto is free education, but there are contributions imposed by the Educational Council for Friends of Schools for the able parents in order to create a better school environment , noting that Article 29 of the Child Law of 2010 said “It is forbidden for a student to be expelled from the class, even for five minutes, as well as expulsion from school for any reason, besides students being subjected to insulting words are all forbidden.
Dr. Ikhlas the Director of the Psychological Counseling and Safety Unit in educational institutions at the Ministry of Education, underscored that there are some students who are expelled from schools because of tuition fees, saying that the child has no guilt, and that information should reach to the Ministry of Education about the expulsion or the education department in the localities so the Ministry can address it and take administrative measures in this regard, stressing that the Ministry should be informed in order to take the necessity procedures.
Dr. Abdul Qadir Abudullah Abbo, Secretary General of the National Council for Child Welfare, said that child labor is a matter of concern to society, and we have provisions that prevent the exploitation of children in labor except for children who work of their own free will to help their families in agriculture, and laws condemn anyone who violates children’s rights and those rights in different states must be activated.
Abbo added that the family is a great institution if it is taken care of to bring up a complete, equal and homogeneous generation.
Abbo noted that most of the dropouts now are due to the economic situation of the family, and we do not deny the existence of a high rate of children dropping out of schools, adding that international organizations set a percentage without referring to the competent authorities and institutions in the country, and they must seek help of the National Council for Child Welfare and the concerned authorities.
Abbo underlined that the child protection mechanism in Sudan exists and is represented in the Ministry of the Interior, as there is a unit for family and child protection, and the mechanism needs to be activated , besides logistical support and activating ways of protection mechanisms with the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Labor and state councils to help to impose penalties for violators of children’s rights, and we also need to activate laws and make them on the ground, adding that the Council is in the process of issuing the Child Law 2023 after updating the 2010 Law, and it will be approved for implementation starting this year, and there will be provisions that guarantee the urgent implementation of penalties for anyone who abuses a Sudanese child.
He stressed that we need the media at all times to raise awareness, as part of the social responsibility that needs to reinforce awareness messages about the importance of education.
Child Expert, professor, Yasser Salim said that there is a problem with the child protection mechanism and that it does not implement the provisions stipulated by the laws, whether ministries or childhood councils.
He added that there is weakness in budgets, which reduces the process of fulfilling children rights.
He underlined that the Child Law of 2010 has proposals to conduct a very large modernization process on it, and it is an excellent law and has advantages such as determining the age of the child and defining the roles of the mechanism and others, but regarding the application of the law in some articles it is very weak and almost non-existent.
He continued that the introduction of old laws since the eighties made there a weakness in the interest in implementation, and there are provisions for increasing budgets and spending on the childhood sector, and there is no clear process for implementing such provisions; Although there are items spent on training workshops and meetings, and we hope that they will be directed towards childhood directly.
Salim explained that there are fees that are imposed on the students and the child is expelled, and there is no clear accountability, and if there was, there would be hesitation before the school expelled the student for the sake of the fees.
He pointed out that one of the reasons for child dropout is the lack of a clear budget to be spent on education and there is no penalty list to be implemented, and there must be a raising of families’ awareness of the importance of education, especially children under 15 years of age, and it must be clarified that children over 14 years can work according to specific controls.
Salim continued, “There are no immediate response mechanisms that implement the laws and agreements signed by Sudan since 1990, and mechanisms for reporting violations, raising awareness in general, and cooperating with the media , adding that the media must be a partner in implementing the strategy on children’s rights for the coming period.”
Salim spoke about the role of national organizations, saying that national organizations have a very limited budget and weak capabilities, especially in the issue of delving into the matter of laws, and their role can be very great in spreading societal awareness, especially with regard to decreasing violence against children.
School principals and teachers
Teacher Magda Abdel-Sayed Mohamed Al-Hassan, principal of Al-Qadisiyah School for Boys, said that there are many reasons that lead to children dropout of school, social problems in houses and the school environment as well, which leads to a lack of desire for education, and family problems such as the separation of the spouses or the abnormal behavior of one of the parents, as well as the economic situation of the family, besides the weakness of the Arabic language and poor academic achievement.
One of the solutions is to educate society about the importance of education for the family and that the basis for progress in countries is measured by education.
Teacher Omar Khalafallah Shamoon, the director of school activities for the secondary level in Omdurman locality, said that the reasons for school dropout may be economic related to the family and society, and also perhaps the customs and traditions of the community in some areas that do not care about the issue of education, especially for girls, and there are areas that do not have free public schools, This makes it difficult for some families to send their children to school with the lack of a wide spread of technical education in order to shape the student’s inclinations, especially since most of them do not like rigid subjects.
Likewise, the unattractive school environment leads to children dropping out of school, and there is dropout during the school day, especially in the secondary stage, which is the dangerous adolescence stage in which the future of the student is shaped, and there is no clear accountability from the family or the school.
He added that it is important to activate activities during the school day and work to fill the child’s day with attractive details.
Rufaida Abbas, a teacher at the basic stage in the Jabal Awlia locality, said that the reasons for dropping out are many, and the most important of them is the economic situation of the families, as some families cannot provide school fees for their children even in public schools, as those schools demand amounts that may be small, but when looking at simple and limited-income families, it is a large amount ,in addition to the expenses of eating and drinking, house rent, transportation and electricity. Therefore, some families are forced to have part of their children go to school and the other part go to the market and work in marginal jobs to help the rest of the family earn their living.
And she added that there are families, due to economic conditions, who transfer their children to government schools, and government schools have conditions for transfer and impose large fees on families that they cannot pay, and therefore the student does not go to school, and also the reason is that there is no government school near students from families with limited income.
Rufaida added that poor academic achievement for some students is a reason for dropping out, as the student is subjected to bullying and ridicule from the rest of the students, describing him as a failure, which causes him a psychological issue, which results in him refusing to go to school permanently.
Rufaida explained that the bad behavior of some teachers with students is also one of the reasons why children drop out of school, adding that some teachers are not qualified to deal educationally with children and said that the teacher has an educational role before being academic.
Teacher Abd al-Karim Hussein, a teacher in the Jabal Awlia locality, agrees with Professor Rufaida in his opinion that the difficult economic situation that the country is going through has become many families who are suffering in their daily life, so their children are going to look for any work to help the family, and some families are begging by using children to seek the sympathy of people He appealed the concerned authorities to find solutions to this problem.
Citizen, Kubra Mohamed from Al-Azhari city , said that she has 5 daughters and 4 sons, and due to the difficult economic conditions, 4 of her sons do not go to school, and she has a son who has a stall in which he sells phone balance and cigarettes to help the family and for girls they try to make henna to help our family, adding that we live in a very difficult situation, as we only consume bread per day at 5000 pounds, not to mention other expenses.
Citizen Dalael Osman Zu Al-Nun from Omdurman says I have 7 children and 5 of them do not go to school, adding that my eldest son is 17 years old , works in agriculture, and the other is 14 years old and does not work, in addition to 3 daughters who do not work.
Citizen Balqis Adam, one of the citizens of Al-Azhari, says I have 7 children, one of whom is 13 years old, studying in the sixth, and due to the difficult economic conditions, besides the school, he does free works, and I have a daughter who got married young and did not complete her education, and the other got married when she was 14 years old, and also three of my two sons Some of them are married and did not complete their education and work free . I have one son who completed his university education.
Solutions and suggestions
Dr. Ikhlas Abbas Muhammad, Director of the Psychological Counseling and Safety Unit at the Ministry of Education, said that one of the solutions to school dropout is to create an attractive school environment for the child and how the teacher deals with children adding that schools should pay attention to the psychological factor of the child to encourage him to learn and go to school.
Among the solutions is also the stability of family; Where the child must live in a safe and healthy environment devoid of problems that affect his health and psychology.
Some education experts believe that it is necessary to improve the school environment and prevent violence within the school from the teacher or among students with each other.
The country must work to make education compulsory and implement penalties for violators of children’s rights, while enabling free education.
The work of national organizations in partnership with international organizations and the activation of mechanisms to assist in the educational process for children of school age in war and conflict zones; The media should spread societal awareness among families of the importance of education and that it is the foundation og development and progress of nations and states in all stages of life.
At the end of each year, the state ratifies New Year’s budget; the item of spending on education is always the lowest, for reasons that are not seen with the eye and do not raise the mind of logic, but it is an inevitable reality.
There is no doubt that education has become one of the necessities of life, and as the poet Ahmed Shawqi said (knowledge raises a house that has no pillars, and ignorance destroys the house of glory and honor).
Children are the pillar of the future and the bright hope of this beloved country, therefore, the state must put all its capabilities to solve the problem of children dropping out of schools.
Opinions agreed that the reasons for dropping out are economic, social, psychological, security, and reasons related to violence and bullying within the walls of the school.
Will the day come when the economic situation will improve and the budget allocated for education will increase in the state’s budget?! Perhaps our children one day will be blessed with an attractive school environment that encourages them to go ahead!? We hope that.