Should attendance at schools be made optional?
Points in favour of voluntary school attendance
Schools should make attendance voluntary because students are not comfortable with strict attendance policy and they have to forcefully attend the school. If students are provided with the option of voluntary school attendance then they would not be pressurised to attend the school. Sometimes, students are bullied at school and also they have not inclined towards academics that much as they are towards others activities like sports, arts, dance and music etc. So if school attendance is made voluntary then students will be able to take part in activities of their interest.
- Attendance is not related with Learning – It is not necessary that if a student is attending a class, he is gaining knowledge about everything that is taught in school. Students knowledge can be tested though school's internal assessments only. Sometimes, students who have full attendance fail academically and who are irregular at school get good grades. The school should adapt qualitative teaching methods to impart knowledge to students.
- It will save students from unnecessary obligations from school –Students provided with optional attendance system will be saved from penalties put by the school for less attendance. These penalties include retaining students in the same grade, making them pay unnecessary charges etc.
- Academic guidance besides schools – Students who do not like attending school can get help in their studies from teachers outside the school. There are many tuition teachers, coaching institutes who help students better than school by completely focusing on their academics.
- Less stress on parents – Parents are under more pressure when schools make attendance mandatory as they have to deal with a child who is not ready to go to school and they force them otherwise they have to abide by penalties. They want their child should excel in academics so that the child can have a successful life ahead. If schools make attendance voluntary then parents can get their child engaged into activities they are interested in so that their child can have a successful career in what they like.
Points against voluntary/optional attendance
- Lower attendance rate – if schools make attendance voluntary then students would be skipping the school very often and hence a low attendance rate which is not good for student's academic life.
- Affects Academic growth of students – Voluntary attendance will hamper the academic performance of the students and fall in grades. If students regularly attend the school they learn everything and they are relieved from academic pressure too.
- Indiscipline behaviour in students – The voluntary school attendance system will bring indiscipline among students and make them an irresponsible person. Schools make students disciplined by giving them education along with liable rules and regulations.
- Difficulty for a teacher to keep track of students learning – School attendance is of great help to teachers for keeping a track of students. Teachers can also keep a record for curriculum delivered and to be taught to students who missed the lessons. The teacher can analyse the overall development of students only if they are regular at school.
- Students would require extra help – if students are provided voluntary school attendance then they would miss the lessons at schools and as a result, they would seek help from tutors. The students would not be saved from studies even if they do not attend school. Moreover, they have to study extra and sometimes tutors do not follow the same curriculum as the school and students have to put extra efforts for their studies.
- Affects students' long term success rate – if school attendance is made optional then it would make students in-orderly and the students would have fewer chances of a successful career as companies prefer students who have regular schooling over students with the home based education system. Also, students themselves are not inclined towards an ordinary life and develop a laid back lifestyle.
- Counsel students - Schools are advised to keep a track of student's attendance rate. They need to make a student counselling team who would talk to students irregular at school. They need to find solutions for the reasons provided by the students. Sometimes students are under stress due to bullying, or academic pressure, problems at home or it could be diseases like attention disorder, dyslexia or anxiety issues so schools need to talk to them and their parents too.
- Subject attendance system – Schools should prepare the curriculum which is student friendly and there should be minimum mandatory attendance for each subject. However, the attendance should be as per the requirement of the subject i.e. if a subject is not that mandatory then the attendance should be relaxed.
- Modern techniques of learning – The school can use technology for better teaching by recording each class lesson and the students who have missed classes can get it from teachers to learn the lessons just like classroom. Schools can adapt to various teaching methods like web classes, notes for guidance and extra classes for students who have missed the lessons. Also, they need to develop screening system to check whether the teaching methods are students friendly or not. Besides, they should make a separate class for students with special needs.