Should the School Dropout Age be Raised
State districts in the United States of America are looking at increasing the school dropout age to encourage students to go for graduation. Through this, they are also looking at tackling social ills such as crime. Experts argue that this will not help the students or the schools at all. In fact, the education department and the government are forcing the students to stay in schools until graduation or till they reach the age of 18. There are hardly any studies to support the statement that by increasing the school dropout age, students will become interested in pursuing higher education. Most US states had students attending schools until they were 16 or 17 years of age. Over the years, many schools have raised it to 18. The intention is to make the students stay and complete their high school graduation. With high school certificates, they can either go onto colleges and universities or get a decent job. Many students and their families cannot afford college fees and expenses, so they wait for a year or two. During this period, the students engage themselves in jobs and try to save up. With the ever increasing standard of living and other expenses, many students and families cannot even save up for college.
Alternatives to Increasing the School Dropout Age
Schools and the associated authorities should look at other alternatives than increasing the school dropout age. This is because they shouldn't force the students to stay back for graduation. It only makes the students more uninterested, disheartened and frustrated. This creates anger in them, and they lash out through vandalism and graffiti. Schools and associated authorities can provide alternatives to students such as vocational training institutes and career-oriented programs. The student will have better opportunities of directly entering the job market with the skills from such ventures. High school students should be given the opportunity to go for internships and get good experience for a job
on the job experience. It will provide them with the much-needed exposure. Businesses and organisations should give them on the job training. It will help to motivate and encourage the students. Then when they have saved enough money, they can go for further education. But then colleges and universities don't provide them with the exposure or experience. It only gives them a qualification or degree. Overall, the job market is such that it looks at the skills. If the candidate has the relevant degree, they have the opportunity to work with them. They are getting good salary packages. Then, there is the fact that high school dropouts hardly make it into the main job market. They opt for jobs in fast food chains, restaurants or shopping malls.
Monitoring and Maintaining the Records
To tackle the problem of school dropouts, schools and stakeholders need to work from the very beginning. They can do so monitoring and maintaining the records of students. Every student will have a separate file. Their progress should be noted and maintained in a database. Time and again, the school can go through the records and point out the students who are likely to drop out early. For this, the school needs a maintained record and progress of students, right from early childhood education (preschool) to high school. The school and the relevant authorities can engage experts and professionals who can reach out to the student and counsel him or her. They can show alternatives such as vocational training or internships. Apart from this, it has been observed that many students drop out because of financial problems. Their families are not able to send them to school. They cannot manage the school fees and associated expenses. Schools and associated authorities have to look into this fact. They can help out the students through financial scholarships and stationery allowance and transport costs. Raising the dropout age will not work in such issues. Schools can also help out the poor and needy students by helping them find part-time jobs to help the families. The government should note that students are from different financial backgrounds. Some are able to afford, and some are not. By raising the dropout age, they are only making the problems worse. It would have been better if they provided the overall education free of cost. This way, they would be able to retain the students and boost the economy. With no education fees or costs to pay the students graduated from high school, families would have been able to save up for college.