A recent study found in Sri Lanka states that 60.8 per cent of children comprised of those who had never been to school [15.7%] and those who had dropped out [44.7%] The study revealed that the the percentage of children out of school was relatively higher among Sri Lanka Tamil and Plantation Tamil Children.
Chandra Gunawardana and Swarna Jayaweera of the Open University of Sri Lanka and Centre for Women’s Research had done this study under the financial assistance of Commonwealth Education Fund of the Save Children –Sri Lanka.
The present study attempted to ascertain the incidence of non-school going in households and identify the factors –economic, social, educational, personal, that have contributed to non-schooling or early school leaving .The sample was selected from 22 districts from six community types, consisting of 1014 children and 944 parents and guardians.
More girls than boys had never been to school and more boys than girls were school dropouts. There were more children in the 10-14 age groups out of school. The percentage of children out of school was relatively higher among Sri Lanka Tamil and Plantation Tamil Children.
Thirty six percent of the dropouts had left school before completing primary education. Almost 10 percent had been absent through the two weeks of the survey and 44.5 percent had been absent for more than 5 of the 10 school days.
Researchers said that poverty and resultant economic constraints of families , indifference of parents and unstable family environments were found to be the major factors of non-schooling , dropout and high absenteeism leading to engagement in paid employment in occupations such as domestic service , manual labour , school related factors such as refusal to admit poor children or those without birth certificates, lack of facilities for children with disabilities , harsh punishments and lack of transport facilities had also been barriers.
Personal problems such as chronic ill-health, disability peer pressure and learning difficulties had contributed to non-schooling and drop outs. The findings indicated that multi-pronged strategies are necessary to ensure to all children the right to education, researchers said