An Assessment of Major Factors Affecting the Demand for Primary Schooling in Rural Areas of Oromia Zone of Amhara Region

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Addis Ababa University


The main purpose of the study was to identify the major economic, social and school related factors affecting the demand for primary schooling in Oromia ;:one of Amhara Region. The sources of data were district education officers, princippls, teachers, household heads and non-schooling children. The method used for the study was descriptive survey. The samples were selected based on purposive, systematic random sampling and accidental sampling techniques accordingly. Interview, questionnaire, document analysis and focus group discussion were aata gathering tools. The validity and reliability of the questionnaires were tested through pilot testing. All the distributed questionnaires were correctly filled and retumed with exception of minor limitations. Questions were raised and discussed regarding utilization of school resources such as teachers and classrooms. Background of non-schooling children and major economic, cultural and school related factors affecting the demand for schooling were also studied. Factors contributing to drop out and create schooling differences between sexes"were also analyzed. Based on the study the following major findings are summarized. As enrolment and drop out rate, number of new entrants to schools, percentage of female stude nts and the average PTR and PSR indicate that there was low demand of the society for schooling. Dropout rate was high for lower grades and females. The reasons for the high drop out of girls are attributed to high demand for girls' labor at home, cultural f actors, economic problems and early marriage. Because of cultural factors and economic expectations, the demand for girls ' schooling was also low. Lack of resources and school facilities were not found to be major problems. Lack of knowledge of the value of education, child labor, poverty, lack of role model (shortage of educated p eople from the locality), early marriage (for girls) and long distance between home and school were the main reasons for parents not to send and withdrew their children to and from schools. Furthermore, parents' lower economic and education ,background affected children's schooling opportunity. Parents directly and indirectly contribute to schools as schqol fee and donations which might have effect on the d emand for schooling. Most parents also send their children to schools expecting employment opportunity after cOinpleting their education which, in tum, might have imp lication on the demand f o ' schooling. Based on the findings the f ollowing recommendations are suggested. Broadcasting through local radio programs that highlight the positive asp ects of education, infonning Parents and children about the value of education, promoting adult literacy program for parents to ap Jreciate better the value of education, providing fin ancial or material ass is tance to those who can not afford schooling costs; and abolishing the 10 Birr payments p er year, and instituting counseling services to schools may increase the demand and reduce drop out. Fwthermore, exp anding la bor saving tec l11l010gies and introducing jle).:ible school calm'der can save children's time. In addition, more number of high school graduates s hould be recruited, trained and employed in their birth place area to serve as role models . Increasing the supply of f emale teachers by recruiting from the school locality may also increase girls'" enrolment. Low cost schools s hould be constructed f rom local raw materials near to the residence to enhance the demand. Allevia ting povelty by increasing theil' income through d ifferelll means is important. In this regard st rengthening agricultural extension progu.J1l is important. COll1imWLlS efforts hCH'fO 10 b!:' made to SlOp ea rl!,marnage.