If you are reading this article, it may be because of classwork, or you are doing research on school drop out or even reading for knowledge acquisition.
To some degree, we have all been affected directly or indirectly by school and college dropouts. Mostly it is due to financial constraints, but other factors surround this educational phenomenon.
Myself, I have dropped out of school twice since I started my academic journey, and now at twenty-six years, I am still doing my first bachelor’s degree; that’s why I felt that it would be good if I gave a personal perspective on school dropout specifically at the college level of education.
When I received my placement letter at the University of Nairobi, it was a dream come true. I imagined how important I was going to be in society after completing my bachelor’s degree in just four years, but I can testify to you that as I joined the school, things started to go in another direction since I came from a very humble background; from a family of 8 siblings and even completing high school was a real hustle!
That’s when I realized that everything was not as it seemed to be.
College is a unique level of educational institution that gives students a whole plethora of opportunities and exciting opportunities. Still, it is amazing to discover that most students who join college don’t complete their studies. In this article, my topic is why some students quit college. I will talk about the causes of these students leaving college.
Students today are quitting college at high rates. Some drop out at the beginning of their studies, and some drop out when they are almost through with their studies. Financial challenges are the leading causes of dropping out, including early pregnancies, drug abuse, jobs, medical issues, lack of support, and family issues. This article will discuss the discouraging environment, being academically prepared and expensive higher education as the main causes of college dropout among students.
Together with my group of writers, we did a unanimous questionnaire to students from the University of Nairobi (UoN) and Kenyatta University (K.U.) in Kenya. We were surprised to read some of the respondents that we got from our research. I shall reference some of the respondents to defend my arguments.
First, discouraging the studying environment in colleges is a contributing factor in college dropout. Once students are enrolled into colleges to study for their associate’s or bachelor’s degrees, they are subjected to interacting in a new environment. In most cases, the colleges don’t have a conducive environment for the student’s success. From the responses that we got, more than 75% agreed and strongly agreed that the studying environment in their universities was not as conducive as it should be.
There is isolation and loneliness as the college systems do not have an outcome-driven education. This means that nobody cares if students attend classes or not, and there is little to no peer collaboration among students to foster student engagement. Due to this, students lack the value and morale to continue studying, and they opt to go back to their family and friends where they feel they socially belong and are appreciated.
Secondly, some students are admitted into college while they are not academically prepared. This means that these students have academic inadequacies that make them unfit or completely competent for higher education. This leads to several other mistakes that sum up to completely shutting off the student to college life. For example, most of these students generally feel unhappy with college life.
They feel that they are being tortured by being tied to nagging roommates and being given much coursework that they cannot handle. In the end, the students develop mistrust towards the school, and hopelessness creeps in. Eventually, these students end up dropping out of school to join a course or a programme that they feel good and enthusiastic about doing.
Most importantly, the cost of higher education is very expensive. The tuition fee is often increasing; for example, the Univesity of Nairobi recently hiked the student tuition fees from twenty-six thousand (Kshs. 26,0000 to fifty-nine thousand (59,000) annually. For the accommodation, the fees hicked from four thousand to forty thousand per student per academic year. There are no proper regulations that govern or regulate fee increment in higher learning institutions. This means that the cost of learning is drastically increasing without notice.
Due to this increased tuition fee, students from underprivileged backgrounds cannot meet the basic college life. As a result, they opt to engage in part-time jobs to meet their financial needs. A conflict ensues between laying emphasis and interest on either the job or studying. Students who find it hard to handle the stress from working and studying simultaneously let go of schooling and continue working. Furthermore, they perceive that to reduce student loans as some degree courses do not lead to direct work, meaning you could even work without having degree certification.
Combined with the upkeep, it seems impossible for the student to thrive in academics. Recently, a news report compiled by Citizen T.V. showed that it is normal for college and university students to go for days without having a single meal; some reported eating rodents for lack of upkeep funds.
Most students who responded to our questionnaire indicated that they were engaging part-time jobs to meet their financial needs, such as paying for rent, buying school materials, and meals. More than 80% of the respondents were dissatisfied with their financial status triggered by harsh and expensive city life where they have to buy everything. Even the universities have a PAYE program where students are expected to “Pay As You Eat” (PAYE). No wonder the students are overstaying in the system, some taking up to ten (10) years to complete a bachelor’s degree, which normally takes four (4) years.
Even after suffering so much in college, once these students graduate, they are not immediately absorbed into the country’s labour force. They are haunted by HELB loans that have accrued interests, and yet they are not employed. Those who did not manage to go to campus immediately engage in unskilled and semi-skilled labour, and most of these citizens start working on hand-to-mouth jobs from which they are supposed to meet all their basic needs and that of their families. When all these factors are put on a scale, pursuing a college education program becomes very expensive.
To conclude, college life is a short season of four years, and not many go through and graduate. Some have been in the system for years due to deferment as they find it hard to study as financial crisis cripple them and make college education undoable. Until these problems are addressed, society can reduce college dropout rates and education transition is made possible. Proper emphasis should be given to developing a student-centred education system. Even when students do their exams, they get their results promptly for ease of academic track and personal development planning.
What are your thoughts on this because I believe that there is more going on in our universities than it seems?