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Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean

Interventions to Address the Root Causes of Absenteeism in Remote Rural Primary Schools in Jamaica: Challenges to Sustainability and Implications of the Results

Publication Date: 
December 2017

The aim of this study was to ascertain the root causes of absenteeism among children of the rural poor in one hundred Jamaican primary schools in which absenteeism was most problematic. The research utilized a mixed methods approach and involved transforming qualitative data into quantitative data and generating descriptive statistics. Focus group interviews were utilized to collect data from school and community members and involved 165 children, ranging in age from 7 to 12. The cause of students’ absenteeism was rooted in four main factors: parents, students, school and community—with financial problems experienced by parents emerging as the main cause. Interventions designed by school and community based organizations to address the root causes of absenteeism most prevalent in schools in individual communities ranged from animal husbandry and school gardens, to computers and bakery. Based on challenges reported by principals with the most successful interventions, employment generation for the communities and multiagency collaboration are recommended for addressing absenteeism amongst children of the rural poor.

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