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Assessment of school absenteeism: A community-based study among children aged 7–18 years in a slum of Kolkata

Ayon Ghosh, Aparajita Dasgupta, Karmakar S R, Lina Bandyopadhyay, Sembagamuthu Sembiah, Bijit Biswas.


Background: Education is one of the basic needs for human development and going to school regularly is crucially important for advancement of a student’s academic and social skills.

Objectives: The main purpose of this study was to assess the magnitude and causes of school absenteeism and analyze the predictors of absenteeism among children in a slum community of Kolkata.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional, community-based study was conducted in a slum of Chetla, Kolkata, where 192 subjects were surveyed. A pre-tested structured interview schedule was used for data collection. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression.

Results: In this study, 43% of the children who were going to school had been absent for more than 2 days during the previous month and the chief reasons for their irregularity were illness (18.98%), rainy days (16.45%), and social or family occasions (11.28%). Multivariable logistic regression shows that higher age of the student odds ratio (OR) (confidence interval [CI]) 2.62(1.0-6.8) and higher edsucation level of student OR (CI) 2.67 (1.2–6) and lower education level of their mothers OR (CI) 2.96 (1.2–7.4) have significant association with school absenteeism.

Conclusion: Around half of students were chronically absent which reflects a very poor academic involvement. Repeated Information Education Communication awareness programme regarding the importance of regular school attendance should be start at the community level so that attendance status can improve along with enrolment.

Key words: School Attendance; School Absenteeism; Academic Performance

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