TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents
List of Figure
Background and Rationale
Statement of the Problem
Review of Related Literature
Significance of the Study
Scope and Delimitation of the Study
Definition of Terms
Respondents of the Study
Data Collection and Analysis
Results and Discussions
Theme 1: Experiences in School of Working Students
Theme2: Ways in Coping the Challenges as Working Students
Theme 3: Lessons Learned as Working Students
Summary of Findings
LIST OF FIGURE
Figure 1. Thematic diagram of the results of the study
Background and Rationale
Poverty is one of the major problems that hindered the right to education. Crossman (2018) defined poverty as a social condition that is characterized by the lack of resources necessary for basic survival or necessary to meet a certain minimum level of living standards expected for the place where one lives. People in poverty typically experience persistent hunger or starvation, inadequate or absent education and health care, and are usually alienated from mainstream society.
Because of poverty, many families are left deprived of their basic needs. The children are forced to stop going to school to help their families. With this as t he main ground, the Philippine government initiated a program called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to address poverty in response to the country’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This program aims to provide cash assistance to the less fortunate to alleviate their immediate needs and break the intergenerational transmission and cycle of poverty. Moreover, to benefit from the said program, there are certain conditions that members and beneficiaries must comply. These include enrolling their children in school and making sure that the latter maintain a class attendance of at least 85% per month.
However, absenteeism cases among students are evident although they are beneficiaries of the poverty alleviation program. Reyes et al. (2015) stated that the most commonly cited reason for not attending school among children in 4Ps families regardless of whether they are working or not is the lack of personal interest and the high cost of education. Thus, 4Ps is not the perfect solution to eradicate absenteeism in school for the program manifested weaknesses that call for an evaluation.
The school attendance rate in the Philippines has dropped among the older children, a general fact in the recent findings of the Philippine Statistics Authority (2018) revealed that children aged 14 years old showed a less impressive 91% and among the 17 and 18 years old managed a 70% and 57% attendance rate only. Students who live in communities with high levels of poverty are more likely to be four times chronically absent than others who have reasons beyond their control such as, unstable housing, unreliable transportation and a lack of access to health care (Balfanz, 2017). It is evident that the poorest children have the lowest school attendance rate caused by the inadequate human capabilities and limited access to social services. Relatedly, these are some of the key factors besetting our society to prevent individual the right to education.
Balfanz (2012) pointed out in his study the reasons for absenteeism. These were presented into three categories that include illness, family responsibilities, and housing instability in the first category, to avoid bullying, unsafe conditions, harassment, and embarrassment that falls to the second category, and lastly, the lack of parent's interest or the students themselves in their studies or nothing stops them from skipping school. It was also stated that the primary characteristic of students who commit a lot of absences is they live in poverty.
In the case of T. National Agricultural School, the only agricultural school in the city, students’ absenteeism is one of the major problems. During the first semester of 2017-2018, a total of 246 (26%) of the students in junior high and senior high school students were placed in warning status, meaning they have incurred the maximum allowable absences. Some of these students are 4Ps beneficiaries. The comparative data on failure due to absences of the school for the last three years is quite increasing. Al though faculty and staff are always reminding the students of the rules on absenteeism and its consequences, still students continue to be absent in class. Home visitations were also done by the teachers to understand the reason behind students’ absenteeism and encourage them to be more present in class.
Different studies have been conducted on the occurrences of absenteeism in schools, yet absenteeism focusing on the 4Ps beneficiaries have not been explored yet. Hence, this qualitative study aimed to understand the reasons for absenteeism among the 4Ps beneficiaries in T. National Agricultural School.
This study draws its strength from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a motivational theory in psychology that consists of a five-tier model of human needs. It is often depicted as hierarchal levels within a pyramid (McLeod, 2018).
The theory emphasized that people are motivated to achieve certain need while some needs take precedence over others. The first thing that motivates one's behavior is the physiological needs or the biological requirement for a human to survive like food and shelter. Next, safety needs or protection become primary. Thirdly, the love and belongingness or the interpersonal relationships like friendship are developed. Personal relationships with friends, family, and lovers play an important role in this level. Then, esteem needs are categorized into two namely, esteem for oneself and the desire for reputation or respect from others. Lastly, the self-actualization needs or seeking personal growth and peak experiences mold the person's full potential as a human being (McLeod, 2018).
Maslow believed that these needs play a major role in improving one's behavior. Physiological, security, social, and self-esteem are deficiency needs that emerged due to deprivation (Cherry, 2018). Satisfying these needs will avoid unpleasant feelings that may result in consequences.
Relatedly, to students who are in dire need, the physiological deficiencies that include the need for food, water, sleep, and warmth must be met. They achieved this through financial support as the beneficiary of the cash program. Once these lower-level needs are met, they could move on to the next level until all the levels are conquered. Hence, if the motivational theory is met, the behavior that molded him as an individual would be realized.
The theory is found to have an ample application in relation to the purposes of this study. As the physiological needs of the 4Ps beneficiaries are satisfied through the financial support from the program, he will be motivated to satisfy the next level and so on until he reached the self-actualization. He will eventually gain full potential as a human being. Hence, if the motivational theory is met, the behavior and act of an individual would be appropriate. As the relevant theory, this help determining and understanding why the 4Ps beneficiary’s absenteeism is prevailing.
Statement of the Problem
The main purpose of this study is to understand the reasons of absenteeism of the 4Ps beneficiaries in T. National Agricultural School. Results from this study would shed light to solutions and interventions that would improve the 4Ps student-beneficiaries in school.
Specifically, this study sought to answer the following questions:
1. What are the reasons of the absenteeism of the 4Ps student- beneficiaries?
2. How does absenteeism affect the academic performance of the 4Ps student- beneficiaries?
3. What are the measures to reduce absenteeism of 4Ps student-beneficiaries?
Review of Related Literature
This section shows different perspectives in the area and studies which try to elucidate the concepts. The purpose of this chapter is to present the importance and relevance of the study to the other studies conducted.
Absenteeism is the missing of the day in school. According to the Department of Education section 157 (Attendance and Punctuality), students who incur absences of more than twenty percent (20%) of the prescribed number of class or laboratory period during the school year or term should be given a failing grade and given no credit for the course or subject.
Based on the Child Trends Data Bank (2015), attendance is essential in school success among youths. It was shown that better attendance of students correlates to higher academic achievement. Students that are present in school regularly get a higher score during exams than their peers who are frequently absent. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing ten percent or more of school days. Frequent absence is a strong predictor of undesirable outcomes including academic failure, dropouts, substance abuse, gang involvement, and criminal activity. It is also important for it serves as an early warning sign that a student is at risk for school failure and early dropout. Family health or financial concerns, poor school climate, drug and alcohol use, transportation problems, and differing community attitudes towards education are among the factors that are often associated with a child’s frequent absence from school.
In addition, Allen et al. (2018) revealed that absenteeism has immediate and lifelong negative effects on academic performance, social functioning, high school and college graduation rates, adult income, health and life expectancy. School absenteeism has been called a public health issue and a hidden educational crisis. It is a complex and varied phenomenon with often interrelated causes such as overlapping medical, individual, family and social factors, including chronic illness, mental health conditions, bullying, perceived lack of safety, health problems or needs of other family members, inconsistent parenting, poor school climate, economic disadvantage, and unreliable transportation. Remedies for absenteeism were also presented like informing the parents of the connection of school attendance to the achievements of the child, school attendance and care coordination with school personnel, cognitive behavior therapy, hence, families and schools are key collaborators in interventions.
Keter (2013) defined absenteeism as a practice of staying away from school without any reason that negatively affects the student’s performances. He has revealed the factors for students’ absenteeism such as phobic adolescence or the fear of physical changes, lack of interest, teacher approach, pamperness, private coaching, diseases, school infrastructural facilities like lack of libraries, and due to entertainment where students could divert their attention. He added that absenteeism could lead to depression, resulting in poor quality of education and moral degradation that give rise to drug abuse, early pregnancies, and uncontrollable act. He also presented aids for absenteeism like providing co-curricular activities to keep students busy when they are out of class and have up to date facilities to make students stay in school.
Due to poverty, some of the children tend to miss education, so the government established a program to help less fortunate families to make ends meet. According to the Philippine News Agency (2019), Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a human development measure that provides conditional cash grants to poor families to improve the health, nutrition, and education of Filipino children aged 0-18. For every household, a maximum of three children benefits the program. The beneficiary families receive ₱500 monthly for health consumption and ₱500 for educational purposes of each high school student per month for a total of ₱5,000 per child in a year. To benefit the program, DSWD sets conditions to follow. One of these conditions is the 85% attendance in school to children aged 3-18.
However, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (2015) officials in Region 8 delisted 100 out of 25,600 4Ps beneficiaries in Region 8 due to different violations ranging from absenteeism to family development sessions. The failure in undergoing check-up and deworming, gambling of 4Ps parents, pawning of ATMs and especially the absenteeism of student-beneficiaries in school are closely monitored.
Febie Plains, 4Ps provincial coordinator in Borongan City, called public teachers and school administrator to avoid “mercy compliance” to 4Ps beneficiaries. She asserted that cases of absenteeism among 4Ps beneficiaries were not reported, instead, tolerated by the teachers because the families get P300 pesos less. Moreover, Rebecca Picardal, school administrator, stressed that children are often absent because their parents leave them to take care of their younger siblings while parents tend to their farms (ESNS, 2017).
The above literature indicates that despite the presence of government programs to alleviate the social condition of the people, some of the student-beneficiaries are still absent in school.
A lot of studies have been conducted on students’ absenteeism.
Bruner et al. (2011) in his study stated that helping children at the beginning of their academic careers specifically getting them into the habit of attending school every day is the most important in determining success in school. Unfortunately, although teachers take roll every day, most schools currently do not use their data to monitor if they have a problem with chronic absence. However, it also stated that while the definition of truancy is left to states to determine, in most places it only refers to unexcused absences and is associated with student’s willfully missing school without the permission of an adult.
Chronic absenteeism was defined by Balfanz (2012) as the typical missed school days with both excused and unexcused absences. It is the missing 10 percent or in the practical term, it translates to 18 days a year. In other words, the detrimental impacts of missing school occur if a student is absent caused by illness, suspension, the need to care for a family member, or any other reason. The study revealed that the rate of chronic absenteeism steadily and substantially increases throughout high school. The highest rate is often observed in 12th grade.
Based on Brundage et al. (2017) study, top reported reasons among students' absenteeism were related to health with 92.6%, transportation with 53%, personal stress like sadness, depression and family emergencies with 41.8%, preferred activity outside the school like hanging out with friends and family with 41%, and school value with 38.8% ratings. The students presented ideas to improve their attendance in school which includes: decreased level of difficulty/strictness (less homework, more fair/consistent rules, more lenient dress codes), illness prevention (not getting sick), engaging environments (more interesting/fun/relevant/hands-on classes or instruction), improved climate/relationships (nicer peers or adults, less “drama”, less bullying), and school schedule (later start time, shorter classes, more time to pass between classes).
Siena (2015) recommended that the government should investigate implementing policies and programs that are comprehensive enough to consider all the capitals for better livelihoods. Nevertheless, the program had been successful in improving the human asset and became instrumental in improving the social, physical, and financial assets of its recipients. It was concluded that the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) was a successful intervention that brought about a positive impact on the live lihoods of its recipients.
However, it was found in the results of the study of Mella et al. (2013) that 4Ps is not the perfect solution to resolve the economic problem for there are many insufficiencies that the program faces and need further revisions. Reyes et al. (2015) stated that since 4Ps families are classified as poor, they are usually the one with less capability of sending their children to school. The largest share of their household budget is spent on food and other daily basic needs with a smaller share being left for education. This reason is more common among the secondary school-age children, which suggested that 4Ps families can send their children to school but only up to the elementary level. Since their families do not have enough income to support their daily basic needs, there is a pressure on the part of the children to earn for their families at a young age. Other reported reasons include housekeeping and taking care of siblings, cannot cope with school works, and supply-side factors like absence of school nearby or within the barangay.
In addition, Montilla et al. (2015) revealed that there were difficulties encountered by the teachers in handling 4Ps beneficiaries. Their findings showed 3 out of 11 (27%) encountered difficulties like absenteeism which is the most occurring reason, submitting projects, adequate school supplies and lack of attention. Murcia (2015) found out that the primary reason for the student’s absences is about their health status followed by classroom atmosphere, personal attitude, teacher factor and home-related reasons and the least reason that the students give was the physical environment.
From the reviewed studies, the results identified the different reasons for the students’ absenteeism whether they are 4Ps beneficiaries or not. Likewise, it discussed the implication of absences to the different fields and some aids to lessen cases of absenteeism, which are found to have a bearing in this study. Though Pantawaid Pamilyang Pilipino Program helps poor families in providing financial support for education, there is still a considerable number of students who miss 85% attendance because of different reasons.
Significance of the Study
This study could be valuable to the beneficiaries, members, teachers, DSWD and to the future researchers.
Beneficiaries. They are the primary subjects of absenteeism in this case study. The result of this research would help the students understand the importance of attendance as a guarantee for a good academic performance. This would also give them an overview of the government's support of their studies. Thereby, they must do their part by studying well.
Members. With this qualitative study, parents could gain different information about their children. They will be aware of the different effects on the frequent absenteeism done by their children with their performance in school and to their membership in 4Ps. The result of this study will inform the parents that their guidance is a big impact on their children’s education.
Teachers. The result of this study could help the teachers understand the reasons for their student’s absenteeism despite the financial support given by the poverty alleviation program. They could also help to inform both the parents and students about the effect of absenteeism on academic performance as well as their 4Ps membership.
School Administrators. Through this study, school leaders will be able to address student attendance concerns which may include going beyond eliciting student voice by taking a critical approach to leadership within the schools and recognizing the importance of building relationships among stakeholders.
Department of Social Welfare and Development. The researchers believe that the result of this study will be of great importance to the department since they are the ones monitoring the 4Ps. They will know the reasons behind the absenteeism of the beneficiaries if there are insufficiencies and lacking that the program gives. They will also implement hands-on monitoring on the attendance and the performance of the student beneficiaries in schools.
Future Researchers. This paper will serve as a reference for researchers who will conduct studies about 4Ps beneficiaries’ absenteeism.
Scope and Delimitation of the Study
In general, the focus of this qualitative study is to understand the reasons of absenteeism among the 4Ps beneficiaries in T. National Agricultural School for the school year 2018-2019. Likewise, the predicaments of the student’s absenteeism and its effect on their -performance and membership of the program was explored.
The information of this research was based on the perceptions and experiences of those students who are included in this study which were limited to five (5) students who have chronic absenteeism together with their parents and teacher-adviser.
Definition of Terms
To fully understand the research undertaking, the following terms are defined conceptually and operationally.
Absenteeism. It refers to chronic absences (Merriam Webster’s dictionary). In this study, it refers to the practice of staying away from school of 4Ps beneficiaries in T. National Agricultural School.