School absenteeism and drop out are the causes of grade repetition and termination of education. Both are the major factors that affect quality of education. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the causes of school absenteeism and dropout among female students in selected primary schools in woredas (districts) of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region of Ethiopia. To achieve this purpose, a quantitative survey design was employed. Primary data sources were obtained from sample areas of different zones in the region by using multi-stage sampling techniques. The data gathering tool was a questionnaire. The collected data were analyzed by using descriptive and inferential statistics. The finding of the study revealed that the majority of respondents believed that girls have to study before finishing household jobs, whereas a minority of respondents believed that girls should finish household jobs before going to school. Of the observed woredas, 48.1% of respondents do not encourage females to learn or go to school. In Anlemo woreda, Wolaita-Sodo town, Sodo woreda, Wolkite woreda almost all of respondents encourage females to marry rather than pursue education. Among the main reasons for school absenteeism of girls it was found that household workload and shortage of food at home were the most significant. As a result, large numbers of girls were absent from school in Wolaita-Sodo town, Anlemo woreda and Wolkite town during each two week period. Furthermore, the study revealed that among the major causes of female school dropout were economic problems, marriage and distance to school. Finally, to reduce girls’ school absenteeism and dropout rates, recommendations were advanced to address these obstacles to education.
Keywords: Key Words: dropout, education, female students, absenteeism