Primary school drop-outs breaking the vicious cycle
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This study explored the how knowledge, attitudes and practices of youth, guardians, teachers and institutions affect primary school drop-outs in Malawi. To do so, the study first explored the experiences of various individuals present in the area, and then investigated what local factors influenced primary school drop-outs. The study involved five primary schools in the Nkhata Bay North region, three larger schools and two smaller schools. The study employed a mixed methods research strategy, with case study principles. Surveys, semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews and participatory observation methods were used to collect data. Research respondents included primary school students, primary school drop-outs, primary school graduates, classroom teachers, Primary Education Advisors (PEA), guardians, NGO workers, Village Headman (VH), the District Education Manager (DEM) and more. These respondents were gathered from around the village and district. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems model and Risman’s theory of gender as a social structure were used to guide the study. Based on the findings, the study suggests that there is a lack of connectivity between the individual, their family and community network, and the policymakers. Furthermore, the study indicates that females in rural Nhkata Bay North are more adversely affected by this lack of connectivity than their male counterparts. Moreover, the study finds that other conditions like parental education background, understaffing of teachers, regional customs and practices, and low socio-economic settings can have negative impacts on primary school drop-out rates in Nkhata Bay North.