Comparative Analysis of Student Dropouts from the 1990s and 2010s

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Education is a systematic process where knowledge, experience, and ability are obtained (Parankimalil, 2012). In this process, humans develop their knowledge, personality and behaviour (Farooq, 2012). Through this development people become more independent. They become more aware and have a better understanding on what is happening around them, such as opportunities, rights, and values. Education is usually viewed as important and essential as it is said to be the solution to different problems. According to Tripathi (2014) and Plan International UK (2017), education is needed for literacy which helps people to create better job opportunities that could help them escape from poverty.

Having better job opportunities, education helps people be more effective in earning for a better living which is vital in ending poverty (Targetstudy, 2014). As most of the job applications today require an educational background from applicants, studies from Express Employment Professionals (2015) show that finishing a college degree gives more job opportunities than failing to finish one. Not only is education important in job applications but it is also important in having a better society. People with education have a better understanding on the morals inside the society. According to Targetstudy, through education, citizens become more responsible and knowledgeable in playing their roles in politics and the society.

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Even though education is viewed with such importance there are still those that don’t finish their education which we call student dropouts. Student dropping out of school is evident in a lot of countries. Among the European Union (EU) countries Spain has the highest dropout rate with 23.6 percent followed by Malta with 20.8 percent (Anza, 2014). According to Kelly (2013), Argentina has about 73 percent of students dropping out of universities which make it one of the countries with the highest university dropout rates. Moreover, in America which has the lowest college completion rate among the developed countries, it is said that only about 54.8 percent of the students manage to finish with a college diploma (Hess, 2017 & Weissmann, 2014). Moreover, Pocalla (2017) stated that about 4.8 million students dropped out of elementary and high school in the Philippines. These are just some of the countries that have high dropout rates which show that there are a lot of students who fail to finish their education around the world.

In the United States, there is an average of 71.2 percent rate of completion for public high school graduates in the year 1990. This gradually decreased to an average of 68.6 percent in the year 1995 until it reached an average of 67.2 in the year 1999 (NCHEMS, n.d.). However, in the year 2010, the United States had a national graduation rate of 78.2 percent which is the highest graduation rate US had since the year 1974 (Brown, 2013). On the other hand, according to the Labour Force Survey, the rate of student drop outs in Canada during the year 1990 is 16.6 percent. This gradually drops to a 12.5 percent in the year 1995 until it reached 11.2 percent in the year 1999 (Statistics Canada, 2015). According to The Canadian Press (2010), in the year 2010, the rate of student drop outs continued to drop as it reached a rate of 8.5 percent. This shows that the rates of student dropouts change over time.

There are various reasons as to why students drop out of their school. According to Gould & Weller (2015) 27.6 percent of the students drop out because of failing classes which is the top reason for a student to drop out. This was followed by 25.9 percent which states that students were bored. In addition to that, it is said that about 30 percent of the students aging from 16 to 18 drop out because they need to work to earn money (Rosales, 2015). Other reasons include pregnancy, involvement in drugs, involvement in gangs, and others. This shows that there are a lot of different factors that cause a student to drop out of school. Doll, Eslami & Walters (2013) classified these factors into push, pull and falling out. A student being pushed out means that they failed to meet the school’s requirements, thus, they are expelled from the school. Meanwhile, pulling out means the student had their personal reasons, such as family and financial problems, that hinder them from going to school. On the other hand, falling out means the student lost interest in going to school.

With a lot of students dropping out and failing to finish their education due to various reasons, the problem is being addressed by having suggestions on how to prevent students from dropping out. Parents should be involved and engaged in the student’s education. Having parents’ guide their children will help the students stay on track in their education. A study shows that 68 percent of the students’ parents only became involved in their education when the student decides to drop out (Furger, 2008). Furger also pointed out that learning should be made relevant. With a lot of students dropping out because of the loss of interest, making the learning relevant will help students engage in studying.

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