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This study aimed at finding out factors affecting pupils’ absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS at Amamoma within the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. The total population was 145 covering the JHS1, JHS2, JHS3 pupils and teachers of the school. Purposive sampling technique was used to select 34 respondents. These were made up of 10 out of 15 teachers, 10 parents out of 53 and 14 pupils out of their accessible population of 56. Pretest, posttest, questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data from respondents. Case study design was used for the study and data analysis was done, using mean values, frequency and percentage counts with the Predictive Analytical Software (PASW) version 21. Key findings of the study indicated that 71.4 percent of absenteeism was due to teachers’ inability to care and find out from pupils the cause of their absenteeism, while 70 percent of respondents indicated that parental lack of care was the major cause of their absenteeism. However, majority (10) of respondents (71%) disagreed that pupils’ attitudes were part of the contributory factors to their habitual absenteeism. The overall percentage mean (58%) representing 8 of the pupils discounted teacher factor as responsible for their absenteeism. It was recommended that government through the District Assemblies offer some financial assistance to poor and single parents to enable them to adequately cater for their wards at school.
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Journal of Education and Learning; Vol. 7, No. 6; 2018
ISSN 1927-5250 E-ISSN 1927-5269
Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education
138
Factors Affecting Pupils’ Absenteeism at Felicormfort Junior High
School (JHS) in Cape Coast, Ghana
Felix Senyametor1, Emmanuel Kofi Gyimah1 & Vincent Mensah Minadzi1
1 College of Distance Education, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Correspondence: Felix Senyametor, College of Distance Education, University of Cape Coast, Ghana.
Received: July 24, 2018 Accepted: September 5, 2018 Online Published: September 27, 2018
doi:10.5539/jel.v7n6p138 URL: https://doi.org/10.5539/jel.v7n6p138
Abstract
This study aimed at finding out factors affecting pupils’ absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS at Amamoma within the
University of Cape Coast, Ghana. The total population was 145 covering the JHS1, JHS2, JHS3 pupils and
teachers of the school. Purposive sampling technique was used to select 34 respondents. These were made up of
10 out of 15 teachers, 10 parents out of 53 and 14 pupils out of their accessible population of 56. Pretest, posttest,
questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data from respondents. Case study design was used for the
study and data analysis was done, using mean values, frequency and percentage counts with the Predictive
Analytical Software (PASW) version 21. Key findings of the study indicated that 71.4 percent of absenteeism
was due to teachers’ inability to care and find out from pupils the cause of their absenteeism, while 70 percent of
respondents indicated that parental lack of care was the major cause of their absenteeism. However, majority (10)
of respondents (71%) disagreed that pupils’ attitudes were part of the contributory factors to their habitual
absenteeism. The overall percentage mean (58%) representing 8 of the pupils discounted teacher factor as
responsible for their absenteeism. It was recommended that government through the District Assemblies offer
some financial assistance to poor and single parents to enable them to adequately cater for their wards at school.
Keywords: motivation, absenteeism, basic school
1. Introduction
Regular school attendance is vital for pupils’ academic and social development. Therefore, pupils’ consistent
absence from school adversely affects their social and academic progress. According to Loren (2011), absentees
miss out on critical stages of lessons and social interactions that are necessary for solid academic development with
their peers. This, according to her, could result in low self-esteem, social isolation, and dissatisfaction that could
result in school dropout.
School pupils’ absenteeism also affects the teacher’s ability to present lessons in a sequential and organised way.
This can have a deleterious effect on the progress of all the students in the class. Families of habitually absent
students can also suffer. For a poverty-stricken family, it may mean a continuation of the poverty and
unemployment cycle that may run in the family. This also contributes to family conflicts (Loren, 2011).
According to Loren (2011, p. 2),”society suffers when school-age children are not in school. These children may
hang out on the streets. Since they have nothing to do, they resort to petty crimes like stealing other people’s
belongings and property”. Loren further added that some absentees may become even addicted to drugs or engage
in other destructive behaviours and grow up to become liability to society as a whole.
It is the aim of every school to lessen, if not eradicate, absenteeism among its students. One way of addressing this
problem is to identify the causes of absenteeism. Once they are singled out, understood, and analyzed, they could
be addressed with specific interventions. This will eventually result in good performance of the students, teachers,
and the school in general.
Habitual absenteeism may be due to lack of intrinsic motivation on the part of the absentee, peer influence and or
socio-cultural factors (Scavenger, 2011). Whatever the precipitating factors are, the phenomenon has become a big
problem in many schools in Ghana and beyond. Felicomfort Junior High School (JHS) in Cape Coast is one of the
schools in Ghana experiencing absenteeism of pupils. Out of the total population of 56 Junior High School 1 and 2
pupils, 14 of them were habitual absentees. This baseline data was obtained from review of pupils’ attendance
register and the details are presented in table 1.
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Table 1. Results of pupils’ attendance at Felicomfort JHS for two weeks
Pupil Attendance Percentage (%)
1 2/10 20
2 4/10 40
3 1/10 10
4 3/10 30
5 4/10 40
6 5/10 50
7 3/10 30
8 2/10 20
9 2/10 20
10 1/10 10
11 2/10 20
12 4/10 40
13 1/10 10
14 3/10 30
Mean total 3/10 26/100
Source: Field Data, 2017.
The mean percentage (26%) and total school attendance of 3 days by pupils in Table 5 portrays a significant
trend of pupils’ absenteeism.
It appears that there has not been any empirical research into the phenomenon in the existing literature on the
factors affecting pupils’ absenteeism at the Felicomfort JHS. It is against this background that this study was
undertaken to examine the factors responsible for habitual absenteeism at the Felicomfort Junior High School (JHS)
one and two in the central region of Ghana.
1.1 The Needs Theory, Reinforcement (Provision of Needs or Rewards) and Pupils’ Absenteeism
In 1943, Abraham Maslow in a seminar paper, titled “A Theory of Human Motivation” proposed that a person’s
motivational needs could be arranged in a hierarchical order, which is based on the following four major
assumptions (as cited in Lussier & Achua, 2001):
1) Only unmet needs motivate.
2) People’s needs are arranged in order of importance (hierarchy) going from basic to complex needs.
3) People will not be motivated to satisfy a higher level need unless the lower level need has been at least
minimally satisfied.
4) People have five classifications of needs, which are presented in hierarchical order from low to high
level of needs.
Inherent in this hierarchical order of needs is the fact that once a given level of need is satisfied, it no longer
serves to motivate rather the next higher level of need has to be activated in order to motivate the individual. The
hierarchy of needs theory proposes that people are motivated and reinforced through five levels of needs, which
are; physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization.
Physiological needs: These are the basic human needs such as food, clothing, sex, shelter, relief or avoidance of
pain that sustain life. Until these basic needs are satisfied to the degree needed, for sufficient operation of the
body, majority of a person’s activity will probably be at this level and other needs will provide little or no
motivation and reinforcement (Johnmarshall, 2009). Pupils are encouraged to attend school regularly when all
their physiological needs including food are provided (Lussier & Achua, 2001).
Safety or Security Needs: These needs are essential, the desire to be free of the fear of physical danger and the
deprivation of the basic physiological needs. This is a need for self-preservation and the concern for the future. If
an individual’s safety or security need is in danger, other things seem unimportant. Loren (2011), buttressing
pupils’ safety opined that Safety school and home environments are prerequisites to reducing pupils
absenteeism.
Social or Affiliation (belongingness) Needs: Social needs include the need to belong and be accepted by people.
Love and care from parents and teachers are critical for pupils’ regular attendance and academic progress
(Johnmarshall, 2009; Lussier & Achua, 2001)
Esteem Needs: The esteem needs represent the individual’s ego status, self-esteem, recognition for
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accomplishment from others. The satisfaction of these needs produces feelings of self-confidence, prestige,
power and control. When school pupils are made by their teachers and parents to feel that they are useful and
their act of school attendance is reinforced or rewarded, they will no doubt continue to be regular at school.
Self-Actualization: This is the need to maximize one’s potential whatever, it may be as Maslow expressed it,
“What a man be, he must be”. It is also the desire to become what one is capable of becoming (Aggarwal, 1995).
This implies that if school pupils’ potentials are identified by teachers and parents early enough, they could be
helped and encouraged through counselling and assurance to become whatever they want to become in future.
This will be very reinforcing for them to continue daily school attendance without breaks.
1.2 School and Home Environment
Loren (2011), investigated into the problem of Grade Six students pupils’ absenteeism at Zapote Elementary
School. The study was conducted against the perceived harmful effects of absenteeism on the academic
progression and future prosperity of the pupils.
Data were collected using interviews and questionnaires developed on a five-point scale to elicit students’ views
about factors militating against their ability to be regular in school. Mean values, frequency and percentage counts
were used in the analysis and interpretation of data collected within the 2010/2011 academic year.
Loren’s (2011) study, revealed that causes of students’ absenteeism was related to factors like physical (danger
caused as a result of walking to school, school being very far away from home and the like), health, pupils’
personal attitudes, teacher and classroom related issues, and parental related factors. The study found that teacher
and pupils’ attitudes contribute 75 percent of pupils’ absenteeism, parental (parents’ inability to provide needs of
their wards) and home related constitutes 81 percent of absenteeism. Classroom environmental issues also
contribute 70 percent of the causes of pupils’ absenteeism. Going forward regarding curbing the problem of
absenteeism, the study recommended among others the following:
1) Education of students on the importance of education; ensuring that classroom atmosphere is conducive
for learning and the education of parents on the need to adequately provide the needs of their wards in order for
them to be regular at school.
2) Teachers should give extra attention to pupils who lag behind in classroom lessons.
3) All school pupils should be counselled to realise that their academic success and prosperity in future is
very much dependent on their positive attitude towards school.
In a related study, according to Demir, Akman and Karabeyoglu (2015), the factors associated with absenteeism
are multi-faceted and could be categorised into three major areas: individual, family and schools.
Individual (personal) Factors: Research shows that absenteeism increases by seniority in high school and most
usually occurs at 15 years (Demir, Akman & Karabeyoglu, 2015). Pupils who normally absent themselves from
school do not feel comfortable and safe in school. They feel academically or socially inadequate, find classes
boring and their positive experiences related to school are less as compared to those who always attend school
(Clarke, 2008; Corville-Smith, Ryan Adams, & Dalicandro, 1998; Williams, 2001). According to Heyne
Gren-Landell, Melvin and Gentle-Genitty (2018), some other individual factors accounting for pupils’
absenteeism include not wanting to get up in the morning, receiving strict punishment, sleeping late and not
completing homework given by teachers. Others are: Being in a class that is one above or one below the regular
class level, transferring to another school in the middle or the beginning of the school year, feeling extreme test
pressure, feeling constantly ill, and having siblings who are regularly absent. Clark (2008), also added that, some
pupils absent themselves from school when the courses in school are difficult and monotonous.
Family (parental) factors: According Clark (2008), parents of pupils have enormous impact on school
attendance. He revealed that family's socio-economic background; family's need for student to work; parenting
strategies; psychological problems; support or neglect; alcohol or drug problems and parental criminal behaviour
also impact on pupils’ absenteeism. Other family related factors include divorce; inter-parent conflicts; family
structure, such as a single parent, interest or control level for the pupils’ behaviour, parents with low level of
educational background, negative past school experiences; lack of participation in school or not understanding
procedures; and not providing environment for the student to do homework (Corville-Smith, Ryan Adams, &
Dalicandro, 1998, Rood, 1989; Corley, 2012; Gentle-Genitty, 2008, Eastman et al., 2007, Reed, 2000) (as cited
in Demir, Akman & Karabeyoglu, 2015). The level of respect the family has for education is seen as a role
model for their school-age wards. They found that parental control and family related factors of absenteeism
account for 22%. Loren (2011), also found 81% of absenteeism being parental and family related.
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Parents no doubt have the duty to ensure that their wards attend school regularly. In fact, home conditions
including proper control of children play a major role in aiding pupils to be regular at school. Poor family control
is one of the most important factors accounting for school absenteeism (Pehlivan, 2006). Family control,
according to Cetin and Cok (2011), refers to parents' knowledge about their wards activities, friends and the
information regarding their whereabouts. Careless parents usually are not concerned about the success of their
children. They do not assist their wards in solving the problems at school and they rarely attend Parent-Teacher
Association (PTA) meetings, and do not normally put in place a disciplined home environment for their wards.
School pupils of today are much less controlled than their parents were in the past. As well as lack of control and
lack of monitoring, some parents shirk their responsibilities to ensure regular school attendance by their wards.
By so doing, they are supporting and justifying the absenteeism (Demir et al, 2015).
School factors: School-related factors influence students' decisions toward school attendance. School policies,
attitude and rules regarding absenteeism influence pupils’ decision to whether or not be regular at school.
According to Robinson (2009), schools’ procedures are inconsistent and do not produce meaningful results in
reducing absenteeism. Students are not receiving clear messages from the school about the importance of
attendance. Tolerant policies or lack of firm implementation of existing policies give the wrong message to
students and parents about the importance of regular school attendance (Clarke, 2008). Wall (2000), revealed
that inconsistency of school policies, lack of meaningful results and poor school record keeping have a negative
effect on pupils’ regular school attendance. This according to Wall (2000) contributes 25 percent of pupils’
absenteeism. According to Pehlivan (2006), there are various reasons for absenteeism, but the most important of
these reasons includes some pupils not liking the school, the school not being secure, climate of tolerance for
bullying, students would opt not to be in school.
In a school environment where students do not feel a commitment to school, they would not want to attend,
resulting in increased feelings of alienation. Hamm and Faircloth (2005), found that commitment to the school is
formed by the pupil’s perceptions about respect, love, care and attention they receive in the school. In the school
environment where there is a perceived value for love and an emotional commitment, pupils would have a sense
of security which will translate in increased regular school attendance. Demir, et al (2015), found that teacher
and school environment related factors was the highest (83%) factor responsible for pupils’ school absenteeism.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
Absenteeism refers to willful nonattendance at work or school without any concrete reason. It entails either
habitual evasion of work, school or willful absence as in a strike action or unrest. It does not include involuntary
or occasional absence because of valid causes, or reasons beyond one's control, such as accidents or illness
(Scavenger, 2011).
According to Abdul, Nauman and Majida (2017), in Pakistan the problem of school absenteeism was on the
ascendancy. They found that on 15th of August, 2016 when schools were re-opened in Lahore, every television
channel was making hue and cry about the absenteeism of students. Almost 80-90 percent of students did not
bother to go to their institutions even after staying home two months on vacation. Even one of the schools
recorded 121 absentees out of 1189 students and similar was the case all over some other secondary schools of
Lahore. Some reasons, according to the findings of Abdul, et al (2017), accounting for absenteeism in Pakistan
were: parents’ inability to pay pupils’ transport for school, money for food and learning materials. Pupils, on the
other hand, according to the findings, were addicted to the social media, playing computer games and keeping bad
companies who were not interested in schooling. The study however, could not capture teacher related factors
accounting to pupils’ absenteeism. This current study intends to cover this research gap.
Here in Ghana, Nkansah, Ninson, Owusu and Prempeh (2017), found 56 percent of pupils’ absenteeism at
Ebom-Bommfa Junior High School in the Bosome Freho District. The study revealed, teacher and pupils’ related
factors responsible for absenteeism of pupils. Nkansa et al (2017), however, did not explore parental factors which
could be one of the major causes of pupils’ absenteeism. This is another gap in research that this study aims to fill.
Felicomfort JHS in Cape Coast is no exception as far as pupils’ absenteeism is concerned. Out of the total
population of 56 Junior High School 1 and 2 pupils, 14 of them were habitual absentees (Felicomfort JHS, 2016).
The headmaster of the school and the teachers lamented that the phenomenon was adversely affecting the
academic performance of some of them. They wondered how this behavioural problem of the pupils could be
curtailed to improve their school attendance. One wonders whether the same factors that were responsible for
pupils’ absenteeism in Loren (2011), Pakistan and Ebom-Bommfa Junior High School at the Bosome Freho
District and others yet to be explored could be accounting for pupils’ absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS at Cape
Coast in Ghana too. This is the focus of this study.
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1.4 Research Questions
1) What are the personal related factors of Felicomfort JHS pupils’ absenteeism?
2) What are the teacher related factors of pupils’ absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS?
3) What are the parental related factors of pupils’ absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS?
2. Methodology
2.1 Research Design
The case study design was used for the study. Data gathered from case study is usually largely qualitative, but it
may also be quantitative (Spring, 1997). This design was considered appropriate because the study was designed to
analyse, interpret and report the feelings and opinions of respondents related to the current status of the factors
affecting pupils’ absenteeism at the Felicomfort JHS 1 and 2 in Cape Coast.
2.2 Population and Sample
Sarantakos (1998) refers to population as the whole set of objects and events or group of people which are the
objects of research and about which the researcher wants to determine some characteristics. Therefore, the target
population was 213. This included 145 pupils of Felicomfort JHS at Amamoma in Cape Coast, their parents
totaling 53 and 15 teachers. JHS students in the first and second years numbering 56, were made up of 29 males
and 27 females, 10 parents and 15 teachers totaling 81 was the target population (Felicomfort JHS, 2016).
The sample for this study was 34 made up of 10 parents, 10 teachers (6 males and 4 males) purposively sampled.
Furthermore, a total of 14 pupils (9 males and 5 females) were also purposively selected from their total
population of 56 in the first and second years of the school. The JHS 3 pupils were not included in the study
because they were writing their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) at the time this study was
being undertaken taking place. The pupils were purposefully sampled because; they were those battling with the
problem of absenteeism and the focus of the study (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2006). Teachers for JHS 1 and 2 were
also randomly sampled.
2.3 Data Collection Instrument
Examination of pupils’ attendance register, likert scale type of questionnaires for pupils and structured interview
for parents were used to collect data for the study. Examination of the attendance register was done to select
pupils who were consistently absenting themselves from school. The questionnaire was used to collect data from
pupils and teachers because it was cost effective and good for the literate sample. The structured interview was
considered appropriate for parents because most of them were illiterates. A pilot study was done at Kwakese
Roman Catholic JHS 1and 2 in the Cape Coast Municipality because the pupils there shared similar chacteristics
with those at the Felicomfort JHS. The reliability coefficients of the questionnaires for pupils, teachers and
parents were computed and presented in table 1.
Table 2. Reliability of questionnaire for pupils and teachers and parents
Reliability analysis of the
questionnaire
Coefficient of Cronbach Alpha
Personal Factor 0.72
Teacher Factor 0.83
Parental Factor 0.81
Source: Field Data, 2017.
Table 2 indicates the factor wise reliability of the factors of absenteeism. The analysis ensured that items were
internally consistent. The overall reliability of the tool was 0.79. The highest reliability was reported for teacher
factor (0.83) and the lowest was reported for personal factor (0.72).
2.4 Data Collection Procedure
Primary and secondary data were used. The primary data were collected through questionnaires and interview.
Secondary data on the other hand, were collected through review of existing document like class registers. At the
end of data collection, 9 male pupils, 5 female pupils, 10 teachers and 10 parents were captured. The return rate
was therefore, 100 percent.
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2.5 Ethical Issues
The following ethical principles were followed in the conduct of the study: Informed consent, privacy,
anonymity confidentiality and debriefing. In order to aid respondents to make informed decisions to participate
in the study voluntarily, information on the possible risks and benefits of the research was communicated to
them. This was done through the issuance of consent form to the respondents to fill. The form incorporated an
introduction to the study, purpose of the study, description of any physical harm or discomfort, any invasion of
privacy, threat to dignity as well as how they will be compensated in that case. Finally, the freedom to withdraw
from the study too was explained to them.
Respect for anonymity, confidentiality and privacy: Personal identities of respondents were masked such that
one could not link any personal response to any of them. Therefore, names of respondents were not required on
the questionnaires administered.
Respondents were assured that any private information such as beliefs, attitudes, opinions and records, disclosed
would not be shared with others without their knowledge or consent. In line with the principle of debriefing,
objectives of the study, instruments and methodology aspects of the study were discussed with the respondents.
2.6 Procedure for Data Analysis
Data analysis was done in two ways. The first part dealt with analysis of the background characteristics of
respondents and covered areas such as respondents’ gender, status with parents and age. The second part was
devoted to responses given by the respondents in accordance with the purpose of the study. Data collected were
edited on the field, coded and entered into the computer. Research questions 1, 2 and 3 were analyzed using
mean values, frequency count and percentage analysis. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to
analyse the research questions.
The issues were measured on a discrete four-point scale of 1- 4 ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.
Based on this scale, a theoretical mean of 2.5 was derived and used to segregate respondents into categories of
agree (2.5 or higher) and disagree (less than 2.5). The four-point scale was transformed into two-point scale. The
responses agree and strongly agree were pulled together as agree, while strongly disagree and disagree were also
pulled together as disagree. They were calculated with the help of Test Analytics for Surveys (TAfS), a tool of
Predictive Analytic Software (PASW) Version 23, which is used for coding data and analysing verbatim responses
to close-ended questionnaire and structured interview for parents to produces tables directly to enable data
interpretation and discussion.
3. Results
The distribution of the sample (pupils) by gender was as follows: Nine (9) pupils representing 57.0 percent of
pupils were males, while 5 representing 47 percent of them were females. Based on percentage distribution of
the elements, it could be said that males mostly absented themselves from school. Furthermore, 7 (50.0%) of the
pupils were living with single parents, while 3 (21.4%) and 2 (14.3%) live with both parents, step parents and
other family members. It therefore, appears that 50% of pupils’ absenteeism could partly be attributed to single
parenting. In terms of age of respondents, 11 (78.6%) of the pupils were between the ages of 12–16 years while
only 3 (21.4%) were more than 20 years. The results show that the form 1 and 2 pupils at the Felicomfort JHS
were relatively old.
3.1 Research Question One: What Are the Personal Related Factors of Felicomfort JHS Pupils’ Absenteeism?
The research question one focused on how the attitudes of pupils affect their absence from school. Frequencies
and percentages were used to analyse the data. Issues examined related to interest in their studies, attitude to work
influence of friends and attention to studies. Other issues considered were reporting time to school and house
chores. In all, seven items were used to answer this research question.
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Table 3. Pupils’ personal related factors of absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS?
Personal attitude Agree Disagree
No (%) No (%)
I am not interested in my studies. 2 14.3 12 85.7
I feel lazy. 4 28.5 10 71.5
My friends influence me to be absent from school. 2 14.3 12 85.7
I can't concentrate on my studies. 2 14.3 12 85.7
I don't wake up early to prepare for school. 6 42.9 8 57.1
I can’t do my homework. 4 28.6 10 71.4
I always play computer games. 4 28.6 10 71.4
Percentage (%) Mean 24 76
Source: Field Data, 2017.
The results in Table 3 show the mean percentages of 24 and 76 being pupils related factors of absenteeism.
Majority (12 pupils) representing 85.7 percent absented themselves from school because they could not
concentrate on their studies at school, while 10-12 pupils (71.4%-85.7%) absented themselves from school due
to lack of interest in studies, laziness, inability to do homework, playing of computer games and peer
influence.
3.2 Research Question Two: What Are the Teacher Related Factors of Pupils’ Absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS?
The second research question dealt pupils’ understanding of lessons, attitude to teachers and teacher relationship
with pupils. Eight items were analysed and the results presented in Table 4.
Table 4. Pupils’ perceived teacher related factors of absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS?
Teacher-Related Factors Agree Disagree
No (%) No (%)
My teachers always cane me. 5 35.7 9 64.3
I can’t understand some lessons of my teacher. 7 50.0 7 50.0
I don’t like my teacher. 4 28.6 10 71.4
My teacher is too strict. 5 35.7 9 64.3
My teacher doesn’t care to find out from me about my absenteeism. 10 71.4 4 28.6
My teacher is not friendly. 7 50.0 7 50.0
My teacher does not show love and care for me. 3 30.0 11 70.0
My teacher doesn’t advise me on the importance of education 6 42.9 8 57.1
Percentage Mean 43 57
Source: Field Data, 2017.
Table 4 shows the percentage mean of 57 (Majority of pupils) disagreeing that teacher related factors are
responsible for their absenteeism at the Felicomfort JHS. However, the minority (43%) admitted that teacher
related factors were responsible for their absenteeism.
3.3 Research Question Three: What Are the Teacher Related Factors of Pupils’ Absenteeism at Felicomfort
JHS?
For the purpose of triangulation, teachers were also asked about things that they do to contribute to pupils’
absenteeism at the school. Issues examined included teacher attitude and relationship with pupils, and interest in
pupils’ schooling. In all five items were analysed and the results are presented in Table 5.
Table 5. Teacher related factors of pupils’ absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS
Teacher-Related Factors Agree Disagree
No (%) No (%)
I always whip my pupils for wrong doing 8 80.0 2 20.0
I make sure pupils understand my lessons every day 9 90.0 1 10.0
I always care to find out from my pupils about their absenteeism 5 50.0 5 50.0
I do not sometimes visit parents of absentees at their homes to find reasons of their wards’ absenteeism 8 80.0 2 20.0
I don’t always advice my pupils about the importance of education 3 30.0 7 70.0
Percentage Mean 66 34
Source: Field Data, 2017.
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According to Table 5, the overall mean percentage of 66 percent (majority) shows that teachers were not
responsible for pupils’ absenteeism. However, 8 out of 10 teachers representing 80 percent reporting that pupils’
absenteeism had to do with their failure to sometimes visit parents of absentees at their homes to find out reasons
of their wards’ absenteeism should raise some concerns.
3.4 Research Question Four: What Are the Parental Related Factors of Pupils’ Absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS?
(Parental Provision of Education Related Materials for Pupils)
With regard to the third research question of the study, emphasis was placed on how the parental related factors
affected pupils’ absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS. Seven items were used to elicit responses from the pupils. Issues
considered included parents’ provision of reinforcement in the form of school uniforms, money for food,
transport and payment of fees for extra classes at school. Other issues examined were whether or not parents
overburden pupils with household chores, provide them food to eat before going to school, advise them on the
importance of education and assure them of catering for them at the SHS after successful completion of the JHS.
The results are presented in table 6.
Table 6. Pupils’ perceived parental related factors of absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS
Parental related cause of Absenteeism due to lack of reinforcement use Agree Disagree
No (%) No (%)
My parents don’t buy me school uniform. 8 57.1 6 42.9
I do too many household chores. 8 57.1 6 42.9
My parents don’t give me money to buy food and pay for my extra classes at school. 8 57.1 6 42.9
I don’t eat before going to school. 12 85.7 2 14.3
My house is too far from school and my parents don’t give me money for transport. 3 30.0 11 70.0
My parents said they didn’t have money to cater for me at the SHS even if I
successfully completed the JHS.
12 85.7 2 14.3
My parents do not advise me on the importance of education. 9 64.7 5 35.3
Percentage Mean 62 38
Source: Field Data, 2017.
Table 6 presents the mean percentage (62) of pupils (majority) agreeing to parental irresponsibility accounting
for parental related causes of pupils’ absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS while mean percentage of 38 (minority)
disagreeing that parental related issues are responsible for their absenteeism.
3.5 Research Question Five: What Are Parental Related Factors of Pupils’ Absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS?
(Parental Provision of Education Related Materials for Pupils)?
For triangulation purposes, parents were also asked about things that they do to cause pupils’ absenteeism.
Therefore, with the aid of structured interview, parents were asked to respond to questions regarding the parental
related factors that affected their wards’ absenteeism. In all seven items were analyzed. The Issues considered
include whether or not parents buy school uniforms for their wards, give money for their wards’ food at school,
transport and payment of extra class fees. Other issues examined were whether or not parents overburden their
wards with household chores, provide them food to eat before going to school, advise them on the importance of
education and assure them of catering for them at the SHS after successful completion of the JHS. Results are
presented in table 7.
Table 7. Parental related factors of pupils’ absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS
Parental related cause of Absenteeism due to lack of reinforcement use Agree Disagree
No (%) No (%)
I buy school uniforms for my ward. 6 60.0 4 40.0
I do give my ward many household chores to do. 7 70.0 3 30.0
I do not always give my ward money to buy food and pay for her extra classes at school. 6 60.0 4 40.0
I always feed my ward every day before going to school. 5 50.0 5 50.0
I don’t have money to give my ward for transport every day to school. 3 30.0 7 70.0
I told my wards that I would be catering for them at the SHS when they successfully
completed the JHS
5 50.0 5 50.0
I do not advice my ward on the importance of education 8 80.0 2 20.0
Percentage Mean 57 43
Source: Field Data, 2017.
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Table 7 presents findings from parents’ responses on how their provision of education materials and
reinforcement to their children affected their absenteeism. Majority (6 parents) representing 60 percent agreed
that they usually buy school uniforms for their wards while 4 (40 %) of them said otherwise.
3.6 Factor Analysis of Factors of Pupils’ Absenteeism
In order to establish factors that were most responsible for pupils’ absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS, factor
analysis of the variables involved was done and the results presented in table 8.
Table 8. Factor wise analysis for the questionnaires filled by respondents
No Factor M SD
1 Stay with single parent 3.74 0.87
2 Parents don’t buy uniforms 3.07 0.92
3 Parents don’t give wards money for food and extra classes 3.52 0.92
4 Parents don’t pay for wards’ transport 3.71 0.90
5 Parents don’t advice wards about school importance 3.73 0.84
6 Parents can’t cater for wards at secondary school 3.60 0.88
7 No food at home 3.63 0.91
8 Teachers canning pupils 3.01 0.64
9 Teaching not to the understanding of pupils’ 2.22 0.54
10 Teachers finding out from pupils about their absenteeism 3.07 0.77
11 Teacher failure to visit parents of absent pupils at home 3.52 0.70
12 Teachers being too strict 2.9 0.82
13 Teachers not showing love and care 3.0 0.74
14 Teacher failure to advice pupils on education importance 3.71 0.81
15 Pupils not interested in studies 2.70 0.64
16 Pupils feel lazy 2.60 0.51
17 Peer influence 3.63 0.68
18 Pupils can’t concentrate on studies 2.65 0.84
19 Pupils can’t wake up early for school 2.73 0.52
20 Pupils always play computer games 2.72 0.74
Source: Field Data, 2017.
The table 8 presents the mean score and standard deviations of the factors causing absenteeism. There were 20
factors examined based on the opinions of pupils, parents and teachers.
4. Discussion of Results
The purpose of this study was to examine the factors affecting pupils’ absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS in the
Cape Coast Metropolis. The following discussions are based on the findings of the study.
Averagely for two weeks per Table 2, each pupil attended school for only 3 days. This result confirms Loren’s
(2011), claim that there is a significant drop in pupils’ regular school attendance across the world and if not
arrested early enough could lead to school dropout. Therefore, if solution is not found to the problem of
absenteeism at Felicomfort JHS most of them could drop out of school.
In fact, as presented in Table 3, the contribution of pupil related factors to absenteeism is negligible (24 %). The
mean percentage value of 76 percent may attest to the fact that other factors rather than pupils’ attitudes like
feelings lazy to attend school, inability to do homework, not interested in school and unable to wake up early to
prepare for school are responsible for absenteeism. This means that in our bid to curtail pupils’ absenteeism at
Felicomfort JHS, the focus should not only be on reforming pupils but should largely be on provision of their
educational needs. These findings are at variance to that of Loren (2011), whose study on pupils’ absenteeism
revealed that 71 percent of pupils’ school absenteeism was partly attributed to their attitudes. Loren (2011)
therefore, concluded that behaviour modification strategies should aim at attitude changing of pupils. These
contradictory findings could be attributed to differences in the research settings, geographical, social and cultural
differences of respondents.
As pointed out earlier in the table 4, the percentage mean (57.0%) of pupils disagreed that teacher related factors
are responsible for their absenteeism. This finding contradicts that of Loren (2011) and Demir, Akman and
Karabeyoglu (2015) who found 70 percent and 83 percent of pupils’ absenteeism were due to teacher attitude.
These contradictory findings could be due to differences in respondents and geographic environments in which
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147
these studies were conducted. However, 71.4 percent of pupils attributed their absence from school to teachers’
inability to care and be interested in finding out about their reasons of not regularly attending school. These
findings are in line with Maslow‘s (1943) need theory (as cited in Aggarwal 1995) which states that if
psychological needs like show of interest, care, love and attention are giving to people including school pupils,
they would be motivated to always show desirable behaviours. In this case regular school attendance.
As depicted in table 5, 80 percent of teachers admitted that they did not sometimes visit parents of absentees in
their classes to find out from their parents at home about reason for their wards absenteeism. This finding
confirms that of parents’ as pointed out earlier. In a similar vein, 80 percent of teachers also admitted that they
usually do not find out from the absentees reasons for their absenteeism.
However as discussed earlier, 71.4 percent of pupils attributed their absence from school to teachers inability to
care and be interested in finding out about their reasons of not regularly attending school. Furthermore, 70 %-90%
of responses from respondents showed that teachers always educate pupils on the importance of education, teach
for pupils’ understanding and do not always beat pupils for wrong doing. These findings buttress views Maslow
(1943), (as cited in Aggarwal, 1995), that if psychological needs like show of interest, care, love and attention
are giving to people including school pupils, they would be motivated to always register the right kind of
behaviours expected from them.
Table 6 shows that majority (64.7%-57.1 %) of the pupils attributed absenteeism to their parents’ inability to
educate them on the importance of education, give them money for food and pay for extra classes and give them
food to eat before going to school. Other issues pointed to the fact that 57.4 percent and 57.1 percent of pupils
blamed their absenteeism on parents overburdening them with too many household chores and failing to buy
them school uniforms. This finding is in sharp contrast to Demir, Akman and Karabeyoglu (2015), who found
only 22% of absenteeism emanating from parental or family factors. These conflicting findings could be due to
differences in respondents’ characteristics and geographical locations.
Per the findings of this study, to curb the problem of school pupils’ absenteeism, parents have to be sensitized to
the importance of education and its benefits for their wards future success. This would help them see reason in
providing the basic necessities for their wards. These include money for food, school uniforms, and bags,
educating their school children about the importance of education and refraining from overburdening their
children with too many household chores.
In fact, findings from table 7 on parental responses to the questionnaire, contradict what their wards said about
the same issue as discussed earlier. About 57.1 percent, of pupils said their parents did not buy them school
uniforms while 42.9 percent of them admitted that their parents usually buy them school uniforms. In a similar
vein, parents’ responses pointed to the fact that their wards’ absenteeism could be attributed to their (parents’)
inability to educate their children on the importance of education, give them money for food, pay for extra
classes and transport to school. In addition, 70 percent of parents admitted that they give their wards household
chores. These findings regarding parents are in line with Loren (2011), who found that 81 percent of school
pupils’ absenteeism was caused by parental neglect and failure to provide basic educational needs of their wards.
The findings also indicate that the heaviest chunk of the problem of absenteeism at Felicmfort Islamic JHS is
attributable to parents’ inability to meet financial needs and expectations of their children. The findings are also
in tandem with Vroom’s (1964), expectancy theory which says that people’s motivation to engage in a desired
activities would be negatively affected if they do not believe that they will get something of value for doing what
is desirable, and their efforts will certainly result in getting what they expect. This means that to curtail the
problem of school pupils’ absenteeism, parents have to advice their wards about the value of education and
provide them with that they need for school.
According to Table 8 on factor analysis, mean scores above 3.0 was taken as cut score off point for significance
or otherwise of a factor. This is in line with (Abdullah & Akhtar, 2016; Abdullah, Raza, & Akhtar, 2015) (as
cited in Abdul, Nauman. & Majida, 2017)) who had pegged mean score at 3.0 as cut off point. This therefore,
means that scores above 3.0 were considered as significant. Based on this criterion, all factors except teachers
not teaching to the understanding of pupils and pupils’ related factors are significant contributors to the problem
of absenteeism. Pupils according to the Table 8, outlined 12 factors as significant contributory factors to their
problem of absenteeism. However, the most significant of all these factors was parental related factors with M=
3.74, SD= 0.87, M= 3.07, SD= 0.92, M=3.52, SD= 0.92, M= 3.71, SD= 0.90, M= 3.73, SD= 0.94 and M= 3.63,
SD 91.
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4.1 Summary of Key Findings
Habitual absenteeism has been a serious problem for many schools. It adversely affects teaching as teachers
would have to repeat some vital lessons for the sake of absentees hence affecting the smooth flow of lessons.
Based on the investigation, the following findings emerged:
1) Many pupils (50%) lived with single parents. This could be one of the causes of absenteeism as most
single parents alone could not adequately cater for the educational needs of pupils. The thrust of the problem of
absenteeism according to the findings was weak economic standing of most parents.
2) Majority of respondents (71%) disagreed that pupils’ attitudes were part of the contributory factors to
pupils habitual absenteeism.
3) The overall percentage mean of pupils (58%) disagreed that teacher factor was responsible for their
absenteeism. However, 71 percent blamed their absenteeism on teachers’ inability to care and find out from them
the cause(s) of their continuous absence from school.
4) Majority (70%) of the respondents agreed that parents’ inability to provide educational materials, food,
and paying for extra classes were the major causes of pupils’ absenteeism.
5. Conclusions and Recommendations
The study revealed that parental neglect, inability to provide physical and educational needs of pupils form the
biggest cause of pupils’ school absenteeism followed by teachers’ inability to pay attention to absentees, visit
them and their parents at homes, find out the cause of their absenteeism, and educate them on the importance of
education among others. Pupils’ related factors of absenteeism include among others; peer influence, inability to
wake early and prepare for school, and excessive play of computer games.
On the basis of the findings of the study, the following conclusions are made: pupils expect parents and teachers
to show interest in them, educate them on the importance of education and its prospects, provide them with all
the basic educational materials that they need, feed them well before going to schools in the morning and give
them money for food at school as a way of motivating them to attend school regularly.
5.1 Recommendations
Based on the key findings and conclusions of this study, the following recommendations are made.
1) The government through the district assemblies should offer some financial assistance to poor parents
and single parents to enable them adequately cater for their wards at school, offer scholarships to brilliant but
needy pupils who come from poor homes to enable them regularly attend school.
2) Parents should be sensitized by School Management Committee (SMC) to the need to provide all the
basic educational materials that their wards need for school.
3) Teachers of basic schools should always show interest in their pupils, especially those who usually
absent themselves from school by getting to know their homes, parents and find out from them exactly the
cause(s) of their absenteeism. If this is done, pupils will feel that their teachers care about them, and will be
motivated to be regular at school.
4) School pupils should be counselled to avoid bad companies and realise that education is key to their
good future and should therefore eschew absenteeism.
5) School heads, teachers and parents should endeavour to know and understand pupils’ needs and meet
them as a means of motivating them increase their good acts and behaviours including regular school attendance.
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Friendships serve as a secure base and buffer that help adolescents to cope with the psychological challenges of the social ecology of high school. Through these relationships, adolescents develop a stronger sense of belonging to their schools.
Essentials of educational psychology
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Aggarwal, J. C. (1995). Essentials of educational psychology. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House PVT Ltd.
Parental monitoring of adolescents: a review
  • H Cetin
  • F Cok
Cetin, H., & Cok, F. (2011). Parental monitoring of adolescents: a review. Cocuk ve Genclik Ruh Sagligi Dergisi, 18(3), 223-234.
Examining truancy board effectiveness in countering student absenteeism in grades K-5 in three title I schools in Northeast Tennessee
  • J G Clark
Clark, J. G. (2008). Examining truancy board effectiveness in countering student absenteeism in grades K-5 in three title I schools in Northeast Tennessee. Published Doctoral Dissertation, East Tennessee State University, UMI Number: 3308020.
Felicomfort JHS attendance records. Amamoma: Cape Coast
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Felicomfort, JHS. (2016). Felicomfort JHS attendance records. Amamoma: Cape Coast.