Exploring disinclination among children in grades 1 and 2 to attend school and relatbd factors
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Academic achievement in a child's life begins formally within school settings. We expect that children would enjoy school and enthusiastically attend school regularly. Several studies have emphasized the importance of class environment and teachers' significant role in motivating students through nurturing their interest. Important aspects of such motivation include, teacher's pedagogic skills, capacity to manage children and amicable social environment in the class. Lack of these features are likely to create disinclination among children to attend school regularly. The general objective of this study was to explore the reasons that instigate and promote disinclination in children of grade 1 and grade 2 towards attending school. The study was a sequential mixed method study (QUAN-qual). Sixty parents of children attending two schools in Mohammadpur, Dhaka were given self administered questionnaires randomly found waiting on the streets for their children after obtaining their written consent. Data from this questionnaire helped identify disinclined children for informal interviews through purposive sampling. Four parents consented for indepth interview and seven parents gave assent for informally interviewing their children. Data were analyzed in STATA. Findings revealed that 45Yo (n:27) of all the parents interviewed (N : 60) have divulged that children expressed disinclination to go to school regularly, of which at least a quarter of them refuses to go to school every day . Reasons children mentioned included uninteresting class work, less playing space, less playing time, unfriendly teachers and unfriendly peers. Majority of parents, mentioned lack of play space as a more important factor for creating disinclination to attend school in children compared to lack of play time. While bivariate Fischer's exact test showed the latter four factors associated with children's more frequent expression of disinclination, multivariate logistic regression showed lack of playtime as the only statistically significant predictor for a child's everyday disinclination to attend school. Lack of space for playing was a marginally significant factor. Informal discussion (qualitative method) with children was consistent with quantitative conclusions about lack of playing opportunity contributing to disinclination. Parents added excessive workload (as a barrier to play time) as another factor with this. It was interesting to find that some parents strongly believe lack of sleep in the morning makes a child disinclined to go to school. The study found children and parents of two non govemment schools in Dhaka report lack of play time and space as the most important factors that contribute to their disinclination to attend school. School's curricula allow minimum time for children to stay in school and, therefore, less playing time and quality teacher-student interaction time. This study has been able to explore factors that make children disinclined to attend school consistent with the reality of the school's context in urban Dhaka. Further study with larger sample size is required to ensure a wider generalizability of these findings and improving the situation through targeted programmatic approach.