1.1 Introduction

School dropout in its simplest meaning is the untimely withdrawal from school. These students who withdraw from school prematurely end up no obtaining any certificate of graduation. The issue of school dropout is a global problem confronting the education industry round the world. Researchers like, Mohsin, Aslam and Bashir (2004); De Cos (2005); Bridgeland, Dilulio, and Morison (2006), and Oghuvbu (2008) have since buttressed this fact.

The issue of school dropout in Nigeria has been with us for a very long time. Fafunwa (1983) noted that dropout is one of the most serious problems that have continued to bedevil our educational system since independence in 1960 from the colonial administration. Even before our independence, the problem of dropout has already established its grip on our educational system. This can be buttressed with the remark made by Nuffied foundations in 1953 that in the West coast of Africa, a considerable proportion of student’s dropout of school each year.

Dropout among the student was a common phenomenon in all the secondary schools in Education district IV but at varying degrees the dropout rate was higher among boys (Male) than girls (female). As such, the society-based dropout factors were discovered to have had the greatest influence on students’ dropout of school within the period (Okedara, 2011).

However, it is uninteresting to observe that the government that has invested a large chunk of its limited resources to increase the supply of education especially at the secondary school level, allows any child who want to drop-out of school to do so at will (Nwakobi, 2010).

The National Policy on Education (2010) stated that the school system will be on the 6-3-3-4 plan. It opined that the system will be flexible enough to accommodate both formal and non- formal education and will allow leaving and coming back to the school system. This is because the curriculum is diversified to cater for those who wish to leave the school system at certain levels and those who wish to come back to school to complete their course of study.

Hence, the rate at which secondary school students are observed to be leaving school at will to engage in diverse socio- economic activities calls for the review of the policy statement (Adesina, 2010). This is with a view to saving scarce productive resources which would have been put into alternative use from being wasted on those who will not like to complete their school programmes.

These are the school dropouts, who this study intends to establish the rate, and magnitudes of occurrence in secondary schools in Education district IV. It is the opinion of most parents and school administrators that boys withdraw from schools go into buying and selling while the girls migrate into urban centres in search of daily bread (Callaway, 2011).

Nwadiani (2012) is not happy with parents whose preference to menial jobs brings quick monies to solve domestic problems. It is also important to note that besides students dropping from the system, there are those who are observed to dropout within the system. These are students that wilfully leave one public school and enter or from one public school to a private school (Nwakobi, 2013).

What is not clear however is the rate, magnitude, and factors responsible for students drop-out in the school system. The problem is on the rate and magnitude of dropout among secondary school students in Education district IV and the factors responsible for this ugly trend in the school system. The study will therefore strive to find answers to the following questions to clarify the above issues.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Education, which is the right of every child, is a mirage in the lives of some Nigeria students because some of the girls are forced into early marriage as from age 12 while the boys are force to go the farm by their parent (Ocholi, 2002). Ocholi further observed that the regression in basic education is reflected in the fact that the net enrolment rate is very low, with a high dropout rate. Poverty has been known to force most parents to withdraw their children from school.

UNICEF (2004) report indicates that some 121 million children are out of school for various and 65 million of them are girls. With the educational rights of 65 million girls unmet, something should be done to ensure that they complete their education. The same report indicates that Nigeria is one of the 25 developing countries of the world with low enrolment rates for girls, gender gap of more than 10% in primary education and with more than 1 million girls out of school.

This is a problem that requires emergency action if the nation is to advance technically, considering the multiplier and intergenerational benefits derivable in education in Nigeria. It is the aim of this study, therefore, to find out the cause and effect of school dropout in Education district IV and, consequently, based on the findings proffer counselling strategies that could be adopted in order to check the incidence of drop out from school in the state.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The study was guided by the following objectives:

i. To investigate the effect of school dropout rate on academic performance of junior secondary school students.

ii. To explore the effects of parental socio-economic status on school dropout rate.

iii. To examine the relationship between absenteeism and student’s academic achievement.

iv. To find out if difficulties in subject matter is responsible for school dropout rate in Education District IV.

1.4 Research Questions

The study was guided by the following research questions:

i. What is the effect of school dropout rate on academic performance of junior secondary school students?

ii. Does parental socio-economic status have any effect on school dropout rate?

iii. What is the relationship between absenteeism and student’s academic achievement?

iv. To what extent will difficulties in subject matter affect school dropout rate in Education District IV?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following formulated hypotheses will be tested in the course of the study;

1. Ho: There is no significant relationship between school dropout rate and academic performance of junior secondary school students.

2. Ho: There is no significant relationship between parental socio-economic status and school dropout rate.

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