Causes And Effects Of Dropout In Universities In Africa

It is no longer news that the rate of dropout in Africa is on the high side. The latest edition of the Global Education Digest reveals that Africa has the world’s highest dropout rate. 42% of African school children will leave school early, with about one in six going before Grade 2 [1]

Although the focus of this article is on dropouts in high schools and universities, the above statistics are alarming.

A dropout is regarded as a person who has abandoned a course of study or has rejected conventional society to pursue an alternative lifestyle.

The scope of this article will cut across some African countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. I will be providing a general view of why students quit school in some of these countries.

Causes of Dropout in Universities or Colleges

1. Financial issues

In a survey carried out by the world bank in 2018 [2], 40% of the population are living below the US$1.90-a-day poverty line. This survey suggests a lot of people in Africa are still living in poverty. And this poverty rate accounts for why the dropout rate in Africa is still high.

To get a quality education is a bit expensive, and if one isn’t financially ready to some extent, you won’t be able to further your studies.

2. The conflict between studies, job, and home commitments

This cause is one of the rampant causes among people who have a job to finance their studies. University or college education requires some commitment while one’s job also requires the same. And if you don’t have a well-planned strategy to be committed to the two without one suffering, you will likely quit one of the two commitments.

3. When University or College Education is no longer value

There is everyday slang in Nigeria, and it is “education is a scam” This slang came due to the high rate of unemployed graduates in the country. Many are now think that “what is the essence of finishing my degree program when there is no job in view, i.e., many youths do not see a need to carry on their Education because they perceive no employment opportunities.  Some believe that the uneducated will eventually be the employer of graduates. And day by day, this opinion is becoming the order of the day.

The truth is that a society that doesn’t value education is sending a wrong signal to those trying to obtain a college degree.

4. Peer Pressure

It is the influence peers can have on each other or the effect on an individual who is encouraged and wants to follow their peers by changing their attitudes, values, or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual.

For example, when some youths see that their friends are into money-making opportunities, they get attracted and stop schooling. Some think that going to school is to make money, and since they have seen money-making opportunities, they stop schooling.

The annoying thing about some of these money-making opportunities is that they are illegal.

5. Pregnancy and Marriage

These are likely to be a dropout drivers for females in high schools or colleges. A good percentage of dropout cases in Africa among females is due to pregnancy or marriage.

Effects of Dropout

1. The aim of Education won’t be achieved

Education in Africa aims to equip the youth with knowledge, required skills, and beliefs to become responsible adults. And once the number of dropouts is on the high side, the purpose of Education becomes unachieved.

2. Under-developed Society

The number of dropouts may lead to an underdeveloped society because Education contributes to the economic prosperity and social environment in a community.

3. Social stigma

Social stigma is severe social disapproval of a person because of a particular trait that indicates their deviance from social norms. It is common to hear people stigmatize such people with “he/she is a dropout,” and nothing you can do to erase such statements from people’s mouths.

4. High Crime rate / Societal Unrest

People who drop out of school, mainly due to financial constraints or peer pressure, cause problems to society. Some of them, after they stop schooling, join back gangs, or engage in illegal activities. And the aftermath of this newfound love is detrimental to the peace of their environment.



Bolarinwa Olajire

A tutor with demonstrated history of working in the education industry. Skilled in analytical skills. Strong education professional with a M. SC focused in condensed matter.

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