Causes And Effects Of Dropout In Universities In Africa

It is no longer news that the dropout rate in Africa is high. 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 early, with about one in six going before Grade 2. These statistics are alarming.

A dropout is regarded as someone who has abandoned a course of study or 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 provide a general view of why students quit school in some countries.

Causes of Dropout in Universities or Colleges

Financial issues: In a survey by the World Bank in 2018, 40% of the population lives 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.

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. A 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.

School is no longer valuable: An everyday slang phrase in Nigeria says, “Education is a scam.” This slang comes due to the high rate of unemployed graduates in the country. Many 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. Day by day, this opinion becomes the order of the day. The truth is that a society that doesn’t value education sends a wrong signal to those trying to obtain a college degree.

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 behaviours 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.

Pregnancy and Marriage: These are likely dropout drivers for high school or college females. A good percentage of dropout cases in Africa among females is due to pregnancy or marriage.

Effects of Dropout

Education aim won’t be achieved: Education in Africa aims to equip the youth with the knowledge, required skills, and beliefs to become responsible adults. Once the number of dropouts is high, the purpose of education becomes unachieved.

Under-developed Society: The number of dropouts may lead to an underdeveloped society because Education contributes to a community’s economic prosperity and social environment.

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 there is nothing you can do to erase such statements from people’s mouths.

High crime rate / societal unrest: People who drop out of school, mainly due to financial constraints or peer pressure, cause societal problems. 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 a demonstrated history of working in the education industry. Skilled in analytical skills. Strong education professional with a M. SC focused in condensed matter. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking on the icon below to ask questions.

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