The ‘dropout’ impact

An average of 7,000 students drop out from the degree and diploma courses a year

One of the serious challenges the world facing today is the rising rate of school dropouts every year causing an adverse impact. Even as the Oman government puts in effective measures and makes all out efforts to create a knowledge-based economy, the increasingly occurring dropout phenomenon is becoming a major cause for concern.

According to figures from the ministry of education, a significant number of students in both public and private education institutions abandon their studies without the secondary school diploma.
Experts attribute several reasons like lack of interest or motivation to continue higher education, socio-economic status, medical issues or deaths in families for the dropouts.
A young person without a higher secondary certificate will not be enrolled in higher education, and has lesser chances of employment, and it is well known that unemployment is linked to higher rates of criminality and negative psychological effects.

Reports indicate that an average of 7,000 students dropout from the degree and diploma courses a year.
“School dropout is a serious concern with grave consequences and causes are multiple”, says Dr Hasan Mirza at Department of Behavioural Medicine at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, who led a cross sectional study that investigated the reasons for school dropouts in Oman.
It could be due to parental neglect and poor parental support, inappropriate learning environment with unsupportive teachers, and individual factors within the pupil such as learning disability or other mental disorders, he points out.
But the percentage dropout is still high among children with certain disorders when compared to rates of school dropouts in general population.

The study conducted by a team of researchers has revealed that the rate of school dropout among Omani children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was around 16 per cent.
“Compared with data from the World Bank, the dropout rate of children with ADHD in Oman is significantly higher than the cumulative dropout rate to the last grade of primary education and lower secondary education for all children in the Sultanate”, reveals the study. Concerted efforts are required to be made to strengthen mechanisms to safeguard the educational pursuit of children who have a high risk of school dropout, it urges.
The study also demonstrates that the presence of comorbid conduct disorder remarkably increases the odds of dropping out of school.
It also suggests that children with divorced parents had a higher prevalence of dropouts compared with other children.
“All children have the potential to learn, but sometimes certain educational systems lack innovation and creativity, making learning a laborious and boring process for some pupils leading to academic difficulties and loss of interest in education”, Dr Hasan opines.