05 SES 11 A, Urban Education & Children and Youth at Risk
Parallel Paper Session
Regardless of race, color, gender, language, or religion, regardless of national, ethnic or social origin, regardless of ability or disability, everyone has the right to education. The most effective way to combat poverty, increase equity, and transform the developmental prospects of individuals is to reach the goal of universal basic education (Motala et al. 2009).
Turkey reflects her commitments to the Millennium Development Goals for achieving gender parity and 100 percent school access to the country national educational policy. The Ninth Development Plan (2007-2013) focuses on 100% access and states that “Necessary measures, which primarily target the rural areas and girls, will be taken in order to reduce the school drop outs and increase the rate of transition to secondary education”(p. 100). The Strategic Plan of the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) (2010-2014) is parallel to country policy and focuses on decreasing drop outs and eliminating gender parity by 2014.
After many strategic policies, MoNE has increased a school enrolment ratio from 89.30% to 98.41% and the gender disparity has decreased from 5.10% to 0.25% within the last five years. However, within last two years, more than 20 days unexcused absenteeism has increased from 2.9% to 4.2% for female students and from 3.5% to 4.4% for male students (ERG, 2010).
Enrolment statistics show only number of students who are registered the school. Enrollment of a student to school does not mean that students are going to school regularly. In Turkey, once the student is registered school, he/she stays in the system until 16 years old even though he/she does not attend to school. Therefore enrolment figures fail to reflect the real numbers of students who benefit from education system.
As Lewin (2007) suggested enrolment statistics should not be used as sole indicator for school access. In fact school access should be defined as, regular attendance, successful learning, age appropriate progression, completing a school on time and other equal opportunities (Consortium for Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity).
Undoubted view is that attendance is necessary in school success. Studies shows that academic achievement is related to school attendance. Moreover, attendance is a better predictor of achievement for children with lower socio-economic status (Epstein & Sheldton, 2002; Ready,2010). On the other hand, unexcused absenteeism could be precursor of undesirable outcomes in schools, including academic failure, school drop-out, substance abuse, and violence (Baker, Sigmon & Nugent, 2001; Hunt, 2008; McCluskey, Bynum & Patchin, 2004; Williams, n.d.).
Many different factors can contribute to student absenteeism such as student’s health, financial problem, poor school climate, drug and alcohol use, transportation problems and the value given to education in the community. This study examines some variables which are considered as contributing factors to the truancy (unexcused absenteeism) to draw practitioners and policy maker attentions to the truancy problem. These variables are gender, family income, class size that a student attends, number of shift school-day, grade level, mother and father education level. The study is limited with these variables available in the education management system.
Baker, M. L., Sigmon, J. N., & Nugent, M. E. (2001). Truancy reduction: Keeping students in school. Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/188947.pdf Epstein, J. L., & Sheldton, S. B. (2002). Present and accounted for: Improving student attendance through family and community involvement. Journal of educational research, 95(5), 308-318. ERG, 2010. 2010 Eğitim Raporu. Executive Summary Hunt, F. (2008). Dropping Out from School: A Cross Country Review of Literature. Pathways to access. Research Monograph No 16 Lewin, K. M. (2007). Improving access, equity and transition in education: Creating a research agenda. CREATE Pathways To Access Research Monograph No 1. Brinhton: University of Sussex McCluskey, C. P., Bynum, T. S., & Patchin, J. W. (2004). Reducing chronic absenteeism: An assessment of an early truancy initiative. Crime and delinquency, 50(2), 214-234. Motala, S., Dieltiens, V. & Sayed, Y. (2009). Physical Access to Schooling in South Africa: Mapping Drop-out, Repetition and Age Grade Progression in Two Districts. Comparative education, 45, 2: 251-263. Moyi, P. (2010). Household characteristics and delayed school enrollment in Malawi. International journal of educational development, 30, 236–242. Ready, D. D. (2010). Socioeconomic disadvantage, school attendance, and early cognitive development: The differential effects of school exposure. Sociology of education, 83(4), 271-286 SPO, 2010. Millennium Development Goals Report. Turkey 2010. T.R. Prime Ministry Undersecretariat of State Planning Organization. Retrieved from http://www.undp.org.tr/publicationsDocuments/TR%202010%20MDG%20Report_EN.pdf MoNE, 2010. National Education Statistics. Formal Education. 2009-2010. Williams, L. L. (n.d.). Student Absenteeism and Truancy: Technologies and Interventions to Reduce and Prevent Chronic Problems Among School-Age Children. Retrieved from http://teach.valdosta.edu/are/Litreviews/vol1no1/williams_litr.pdf
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