FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO SCHOOL FAILURE AMONG SCHOOL CHILDREN IN VERY FAST DEVELOPING NIGERIAN SOCIETY
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Recently, high rates of school failure have been followed by grade repetition which has become a distinctive characteristic of many primary school systems even in the developing countries.1 It is estimated that about 8–16% of school-age children repeat a grade in school.2,3 Moreover, greater numbers of children about 20% are scholastically backward and fail to achieve good marks.4 School failure can lead to serious consequences if untreated.2 The failing student loses self-confidence, becomes discouraged, decreases effort, and is more likely to fail again.
Irrespective of its cause, school failure is associated with adverse health outcomes and health professionals often do not remind educators of the correlation between child’s health and academic potential.5 Children who fail in school are more likely to engage in subsequent health-impairing behaviors as adolescents like smoking, drinking and drug abuse.2,6,7 Comprehensive approaches to evaluation and intervention may improve outcomes. Clinicians can make a significant difference in outcomes by helping the students and their families identify the causes of failure and advocate for the resources to alter a child’s downward academic performance, preventing further compromise of a child’s health.2
Grade failure causes children to be older than their same-grade peers, which will eventually affect their self-esteem negatively. Older high school students are more likely to report smoking regularly among other high-risk behaviors.2
Qatar has witnessed an educational renaissance movement within the past decade, where the strategic goal of the nation has been to apply national reform to its entire educational system. In Qatar, the percentage of students who had to repeat their grade in public schools was 5% during the academic year 2003/2004 which decreased to 2% in 2005/2006 academic years.
Although the rate of school failure is known the true causes and characteristics remain hidden and unknown as no earlier studies were conducted in this setting. Pediatrician’s also plays a significant role to be a child’s advocate and help children to go through school smoothly and safely.5,8,9 Therefore it becomes necessary to determine the factors contributing to school failure in order to design future interventions that tackle this problem at an individual basis and prevent students from failing at school at an earlier stage.