Education Project Topics

Causes and Effects of Dropout Among Undergraduates in Nigeria: a Case Study of Lagos State



This study was carried out to examine the causes and effects of dropout among undergraduates in Nigeria using Lagos State. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of students of Lagos State University. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 229 respondents, 215 were received and 210 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables and mean scores. The result of the findings reveals that; the causes of dropout among students in Lagos State include; poverty of parents/guardians, loss of parent/sponsor/guardians, poor secondary school preparation, constant failing of courses, insecurity in the school environment, high cost/fee, fear of unemployment in the country, and ill health of students. The findings further show that the effect of dropout among students include; higher rates of unemployment, higher rates of criminal behavior and incarceration, academic retardation of victims, inadequate human development, and low skilled manpower. Therefore it is recommended that the guidance/Counselors in schools should be more alive to their responsibilities, in particular, sensitize the students regularly, on the importance of education, as well as the consequences of dropout.

Keywords: dropout, undergraduates.




Education is an instrument for developing the nation. It is also an instrument for developing hidden talents in an individual. It is the only means of eliminating illiteracy in any society. The importance of education to the development of individual and the nation as a whole cannot be over emphasized. It is a great investment any country can make for accelerating development of its technology, economic and human resources. Isife and Ogakwe (2012) explained that education is a powerful tool or weapon that can be used to eradicate ignorance, poverty, and diseases and produce individual that can function effectively in the society. Onwuka (2012) pointed out that education is the instrument that is used to free people from incapacitation and exclusion. When an individual is freed from incapacitation and exclusion or illiteracy, there is usually a change in that person’s behaviour. This change influences the person’s attitude and his whole life (Apebende, 2013).

School dropout in its simplest meaning is the untimely withdrawal from school. These students who withdraw from school prematurely end up not obtaining any certificate of graduation. The issue of school dropout is a global problem confronting the education industry round the world. Researchers like; Mohsin, Aslam and Bashir (2004); De Cos (2005); Bridgeland, Dilulio, and Morison (2006), and Oghuvbu (2008) have since buttressed this fact.


The issue of school dropout in Nigeria has been with us for a very long time. Fafunwa (1983) noted that dropout is one of the most serious problems that have continued to bedevil our educational system since independence in 1960 from the colonial administration. Even before our independence, the problem of dropout has already established its grip on our educational system. This can be buttressed with the remark made by Nuffied foundations in 1953 that in the West coast of Africa, a considerable proportion of student’s dropout of school each year.

This study has come at a time when there is high rate of insecurity in the country as a result of criminal activities. Survey by both the print and electronic media tends to indicate that over 85% of the criminal activities perpetuated in Nigeria are done by youths who dropped out of school. This development has become a cause of serious concern to all well meaning Nigerians. This tends to suggest that our educational system is in trouble and thus needs a very serious attention in refocusing it and restructuring it for the attainment of national goals.

De Cos (2005) commenting on the importance of graduation from higher institution noted that; with the economy changing from a dependence on manufacturing towards more reliance on technology, services, and a “knowledge economy”, the need for education up to tertiary level has grown. In Nigeria of today, Bachelor or Diploma degree from tertiary institution is considered as the minimum required for most jobs and status positions. This development has serious implications for the economic well being of dropouts and the society at large. In this era of global economic meltdown and global economic competitiveness, Nigeria as a nation that has vision must make concerted efforts to raise the educational attainment of all its youths who are the leaders of tomorrow. Globally, reasons why students dropout from school can be categorized into four clusters. These include; School related, Job related, family related, and community related.

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Study by Frendenberg and Ruglls (2007) identified twenty four factors under family cluster; three factors under community cluster and twelve factors under school cluster. The factors identified under family cluster include; low family socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic groups, male, special education status, low family support for education, low parental education, residential mobility, low social conformity, low acceptance of adult authority, high level of social isolation, disruptive behaviour conduct, being held back in school, poor academic achievement, academic problems in early grades, not liking school, feelings of “not fitting in” and of not belonging, perceptions of unfair or harsh disciplines, feeling unsafe in school, not engaged in school, being suspended or expelled, conflicts between work and school, having to work and school, having to work or support family, substance use and pregnancy. In community cluster, the following factors were indentified: living in a low income neighborhood, having peers with low educational aspirations and having friends or siblings who are dropouts. Under school related cluster, these factors were identified; low socioeconomic status of school population, high level of racial or ethnic segregation of students, high proportion of students of colour in school, high proportion of students enrolled in special education, location in central city, large school district, school safety and disciplinary policies, high-stakes testing, high student –to- teacher ratio, academic tracking, discrepancy between the racial or ethnic composition of students and faculty, and lack of programmes and support for transition into next level. While job related cluster entails: those students who could not work and school at the same time, those who had to do a job to survive and those who found job.


This study was carried out to correct the imbalance in research efforts on our knowledge of school dropout. Most of the researches on dropout have been centered on causes, effects and remedies. Most if not all the researches in Nigeria on the same subject matter followed the same pattern with case studies on primary and secondary school. No studies to my knowledge in Nigeria studied dropout problems using the tertiary institutions. This study is therefore very timely and significant.


The following are the objectives of this study:

  1. To determine whether prevalence of dropout among undergraduates in Lagos State.
  2. To examine the causes of drop out among undergraduates in Lagos State.
  3. To examine the effects of drop out among undergraduates in Lagos State.


  1. What is the prevalence of dropout among undergraduates in Lagos State?
  2. What are the causes of drop out among undergraduates in Lagos State?
  3. What are the effects of drop out among undergraduates in Lagos State?


The following are the significance of this study:

The results from this study will educate the undergraduates and the general public on the causes and effects of drop out among undergraduates. This study will also reveal the solutions to the issues of drop out among undergraduates.

This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.


This study will cover the causes and effects of drop out among undergraduates in Lagos State. It will also cover the solutions to the menace of school drop-out in Lagos State.


Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.



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