Important Facts About High School Dropouts

“The purpose of education is to make good human beings with skill and expertise” – APJ Abdul Kalam”

The high school dropout rate has become a growing concern in recent years. Many students across the globe are struggling to complete their high school education due to various reasons. From financial constraints to disengagement with academic activities, several factors are contributing to this worrying trend for parents, teachers, and schools about their future. 

In this article, we will explore some of the most common reasons for dropping out of high school, facts that highlight the magnitude of this problem, and some solutions to help reduce high school dropout rates.

Answering why: Possible reasons for dropping out

There can be a number of possible reasons for dropping out of high school. One study[1] suggests students above 15 in 9th grade have a high dropout rate and may have personal or family reasons that make it difficult to attend school, such as financial difficulties, disciplinary issues, or employment issues.

Today, policymakers[2] are also trying to figure out the social and educational problems behind these dropouts and figure out solutions for them. In the research[3], socioeconomic status, attitude, and behavioral reasons in school were identified as some of the reasons. In other studies[4], employment is stated as a major factor. Some students may be struggling with mental health issues or health issues and would have to leave school in between. Whatever the reason, many students’ futures may suffer as a result of dropping out of high school.

Additionally, without a high school diploma, students might struggle to find employment or gain admission to colleges. Additionally, they might miss out on crucial social and emotional growth that takes place during adolescence. Dropping out of high school can be a daunting decision, but there are resources available to help students who are struggling.

Counselors, teachers, and family members can all be supportive and provide guidance. Similarly, teachers and schools can provide details on financial scholarships for students to be benefited from or based on extracurricular such as music scholarships, basketball scholarships, etc to support their studies and dreams.

Understanding dropout rates in India and the US: Factors and challenges

Although dropout rates continue to be a major issue in many nations, including India and abroad, education is still a fundamental human right and a major factor in social and economic progress. Effective ways to address this issue must take into account the many factors that affect dropout rates as well as the difficulties that students experience.

  • According to a study conducted in Kerala, the most common “reasons” for dropping out of school are physical disorders (80, 21.8%) and mental retardation (77, 20.9%). Financial issues were cited as a reason in 50 cases (13.6%), while family issues accounted for 63 (17.1%) and school-related issues for 68 (18.5%). Child labor (employment) was the least common reason, with only 30 cases (8.1%).
  • On the other hand, a study conducted in Japan stated that around 18.7% of students dropped out of high school within a period of approximately 3 years. The researchers identified three significant factors that were associated with high school dropout: frequent tardiness in junior high school, daily smoking, and experiencing severe problems like abuse and neglect. The highest risk of dropout (over 50%) was observed among students who were both frequently tardy and either daily smokers or had experienced severe problems.
  •  The status dropout rate refers to the proportion of individuals aged 16 to 24 who do not have a high school diploma or any other credential, and who are not enrolled in high school. In 2020, the number of status dropouts in this age group was 2.0 million, and the overall status dropout rate was 5.3 percent.
  • Even, the percentage of students enrolling in college in the fall immediately following high school completion was 68.2% in 2011. Females enrolled at a higher rate (72.2%) than males (64.7%).
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation’s report “Children in India 2018” highlights the concerning fact that more than 30% of female students drop out of school by the time they reach class IX, with the percentage increasing to 57% by class XI. 
  • However, the dropout rate for older students in India has decreased since the 2021-22 sessions, while the enrollment of girls in schools has been increasing, as per the USDI report. Additionally, the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) for higher secondary education has also seen a significant increase from 53.8 percent in 2020-21 to 57.6 percent in 2021-22.
  • While financial constraints have traditionally been a leading cause of students dropping out of school, World Forum Economics reports indicate that many students are now choosing to pursue nontraditional career paths such as entrepreneurship, social media expertise, and influencer careers, which may also contribute to the dropout rate. However, it is important to note that these non-traditional career paths are not necessarily mutually exclusive with education and that individuals can pursue both simultaneously or sequentially.
  • Poverty and living in rural areas can be one of the underrated reasons for dropout rates in India, as students may face challenges such as limited access to transportation, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of qualified teachers. Poverty can also make it difficult for families to afford school fees. Efforts to address poverty, improve access to education, and promote gender equality are critical to reducing dropout rates in India.
  • Teenagers in India who drop out of school have been found to have a considerable absence of parental involvement. According to studies, parental participation can improve children’s academic performance and lower the likelihood that they would drop out by doing things like keeping track of their academic development, attending parent-teacher conferences, and offering emotional support
  • According to figures released by the Ministry, there has been a significant reduction in the overall dropout rates of students in India, except for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) students. The dropout rate for SC students is 37%, while for ST students, it is 49%. These rates are still higher than the figures reported in 2001-02 lighting the problem of cultural sensitivity in schools. 

Strategies and solutions to reduce Highschool dropouts

While all schools and parents need a personalized approach based on students’ needs, here are a few strategies they can implement on individual and school levels to tackle this issue: 

  • Early Intervention: It became crucial to provide early intervention programs to help students who are struggling academically or have behavior issues, with the help of counselors, teachers, and parents working together to ensure their education.
  • Supportive Environment: Schools should also create a supportive environment by establishing a school culture that fosters student engagement, builds relationships between teachers and students, and encourages parental involvement. Allowing students to feel accepted and acknowledged.
  • Mentoring: Schools can also run or offer mentoring programs that pair students with adult mentors who provide guidance and support such as peer mentors or teachers apart from their teaching faculty.
  • Alternative Learning Options: While sometimes students have major reasons to leave, schools should offer awareness and resources to provide alternative learning options, such as online classes or vocational programs, or distance learning, to engage students who may not be successful in traditional classroom settings.
  • Counseling Services: Regular counseling services should be held and engaged to help students cope with personal and academic challenges with the help of special educators or psychologists.
  • Financial Assistance: While some students who leave due to financial constraints may receive financial assistance in the form of scholarships or financial aid, this can help students who may face financial barriers to completing their basic education for future employment.
  • Flexibility: Schools can also implement flexible schedules, such as evening or weekend classes, to accommodate the needs of students who may have work or family responsibilities.


In conclusion, reducing high school dropout rates requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both the underlying causes and the consequences of dropping out. By implementing strategies, we can ensure that every student has the opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential, leading to better outcomes for individuals and society as a whole.

And parents play a crucial role in reducing high school dropout rates, providing emotional support, encouraging their children to stay engaged with school, and helping them overcome any challenges they may face.


  1. Stearns, E., & Glennie, E. J. (2006). When and Why Dropouts Leave High School. Youth & Society, 38(1), 29–57.
  2. Rumberger, R. W. (1987). High School Dropouts: A Review of Issues and Evidence. Review of Educational Research, 57(2), 101–121.
  3. Tas, A., Selvitopu, A., Bora, V., & Demirkaya, Y. (2013). Reasons for Dropout for Vocational High School Students. Kuram Ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri.
  4. Hart, P. C., Bridgeland, J. M., DiIulio, J. J., & Morison, B. (2006). The Silent Epidemic Perspectives of High School Dropouts. Civic Enterprises.

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