How to Deal With Student Absenteeism


Written by Asim Qureshi
By Asim Qureshi, CEO Jibble

My name is Asim Qureshi, I’m the CEO of Jibble, formerly a VP at Morgan Stanley. I’m a physics grad and have a passion for teaching. I’ve taught mathematics to underprivileged inner-city children, I am the dad of 3 homeschooled kids – my kids have achieved some pretty incredible things academically – for example, my son is the youngest person in the history of the UK A-level, an exam for 18-year-olds, to have achieved an A-grade which he did when he was 10!

Anyway, I firmly believe that schools and universities need to improve the prevailing issue of student absenteeism, and I explain exactly how here


Student absenteeism can be a challenge for educators and school administrators alike. Whether it’s the occasional mysterious “sick day” or chronic truancy, these absences can disrupt the learning process and hinder academic progress. But fear not, weary educators, for we’ve got your back! In this article, we will delve into the issue of absenteeism and present practical strategies to help you tackle it head-on.

Our mission is to equip you with a toolbox of strategies that strike a balance between empathy and accountability. After all, fostering a positive learning environment is not just about enforcing strict attendance rules, but also understanding the underlying factors that contribute to absenteeism. 

What are the Main Causes of Student Absenteeism?

Student absenteeism is a complex issue that can have a significant impact on academic performance and overall student well-being. To address this challenge effectively, it is important to acknowledge the underlying causes that contribute to absenteeism:

  • Too many online distractions
  • Sickness
  • Bullies
  • Mental health
  • Lack of motivation

Dealing with Student Absenteeism

Student absenteeism poses a significant challenge in the educational landscape. We will now delve into unlocking the secrets to dealing with student absenteeism and enhancing the overall academic experience. 

1. Foster a Supportive Environment

When dealing with student absenteeism, the environment you cultivate in your classroom is directly linked to attendance. So, let’s set the stage for success by fostering positive interactions and crafting an atmosphere where students feel genuinely appreciated and embraced. As an educator, you often serve as the primary positive role model in an adolescent’s life, so it’s crucial to treat your students with the utmost dignity and respect.

Fostering a supportive atmosphere can involve promoting inclusivity and celebrating diversity. Embrace the kaleidoscope of different backgrounds and experiences that each student brings to the classroom. Encourage open dialogue and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions. By cultivating a culture of acceptance, we’ll establish a safe space where students can freely be themselves and ignite enthusiasm for learning.

2. Connect and Communicate

Building strong connections with your students is paramount in combating absenteeism. Take the time to genuinely connect with them on a personal level, demonstrating a sincere interest in their lives and experiences. Encourage open dialogue, fostering an environment where students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. 

As you engage with your students, be an attentive listener, showing empathy and understanding. Creating a strong teacher-student bond helps foster trust and create a supportive space where students feel truly seen, heard, and motivated to attend your classes. This connection becomes the foundation for a positive learning experience, where students feel valued and inspired to actively participate in their education.

3. Implement Attendance and Time Tracking Tools

When it comes to students’ attendance or absences, it can be hard to keep track of how often they don’t show up or maybe even skip out on some classes. Enhancing your student attendance tracking with modern attendance and time tracking technologies can be your secret weapon! 

Students can conveniently use their phones or a shared kiosk tablet to clock in and record their attendance. This method provides easy accessibility, eliminating the need for educators to do tedious paperwork. Students will appreciate the ease and efficiency of the process, making it more likely for them to show up and be present.

But that’s not all! By harnessing the power of data, you can identify patterns, trends, and potential warning signs of absenteeism. This enables you to intervene early and provide targeted support to students at risk. 

4. Encourage Student Involvement

It is extremely important to encourage students to be more involved with afterschool activities or annual school events. Ever noticed how students who participate in these activities seem to have an extra skip in their step? It’s no coincidence! When students find their groove in sports teams, band practice, or clubs, they develop a sense of belonging that helps keep absenteeism at bay. Whether it’s a captivating book club, a groovy music club, or a school carnival, creating spaces for social circles to form helps foster an environment that keeps students coming back for more.

By engaging in extracurricular activities, students develop vital life skills like teamwork, leadership, and time management. They learn to juggle responsibilities, prioritize commitments, and strive for excellence. These invaluable lessons translate into a greater sense of responsibility and accountability, which in turn positively impacts attendance. 

5. Celebrate Progress

Picture this: a classroom buzzing with excitement as we acknowledge and cheer for those who show consistent attendance. By creating a culture of celebration around attendance milestones, we foster a positive and supportive environment that motivates students to stay engaged and present. From just a shout-out or even awarding certificates for students with near-perfect attendance, we communicate that their commitment to showing up matters and is valued. 

But it’s not just about attendance; it’s about progress. Let’s remember to celebrate the small victories along the way. Whether it’s a student who used to struggle with frequent absences but has now shown improvement or a class that has collectively boosted their attendance rates, let’s give them a well-deserved pat on the back. These celebrations create a ripple effect of positive reinforcement, inspiring others to strive for better attendance habits and reinforcing the importance of being present for their success.

6. Lead by Example

When teachers and school staff consistently model punctuality, attendance, and a strong work ethic, they create an infectious atmosphere for their students. By being present and actively participating in the educational process, they demonstrate the value they place on attendance and the impact it has on student success. This sets the stage for students to follow suit, inspiring them to prioritize attendance and recognize the importance of showing up consistently.

Final Thoughts

By implementing the strategies outlined in this article, including fostering a supportive atmosphere, leveraging technology, encouraging involvement, and celebrating progress, educational institutions can effectively deal with student absenteeism. These approaches not only help improve attendance rates but also contribute to student engagement, academic success, and overall well-being.