Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: Dropping out of school at secondary level: an exploratory study


A- A+
Alt. Display

Research Articles

Dropping out of school at secondary level: an exploratory study


Geetha Mayadunne ,

Room to Read, LK
X close

Kalana Kariyasekera

Room to Read, LK
X close


Though primary and secondary dropout rates are low in Sri Lanka, given the government delivered free education and schooling expenditure related subsidies accessible to all children, even some children being out of school, is a concern. Further, Sri Lanka is a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals commitment to achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all by year 2030. Literature indicates that poverty and failures in education performance, to be the dominant factors affecting leaving education. However, the nexus between abandoning education and early marriage or cohabitation is also an issue less discussed in the local literature. This study attempts to understand this nexus and its implications for policy and interventions for prevention of permanent discontinuation of schooling. The study adopted a mixed methods research approach, and is based on data collected in the Dimbulagala Education Zone in Polonnaruwa District of Sri Lanka. The study found poverty to be the leading factor causing children to leave school, but mismanagement of relationships with the opposite sex due to their poor life skills, rejection and humiliation of such relationships by school, society and family, severe breakdown in family, school and social support structures, were also found to be factors contributing to the problem. Findings indicate the need for life skills education and the need for engagement of school, family and community in supporting children’s education.

How to Cite: Mayadunne, G. and Kariyasekera, K., 2021. Dropping out of school at secondary level: an exploratory study. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 44(2), pp.199–212. DOI:
Published on 29 Dec 2021.
Peer Reviewed


  • PDF (EN)

    comments powered by Disqus