Calls For Dept To Track & Trace Absent Learners

Empty Classroom

There are growing concerns that fewer pupils have returned to school this year, compared to pre-pandemic attendance figures. As a result, the dropout rate has also tripled according to new data published by researchers involved in the NIDS-CRAM survey.

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The Zero Dropout Campaign is calling for the tracking and tracing of absent pupils amid growing concerns that fewer learners have returned to school this year compared to pandemic attendance figures. 

The dropout rate is said to have also tripled according to new data published by researchers involved in the NIDS-CRAM survey.

The programme's Director, Merle Mansfield, says that the NIDS-CRAM study indicates that an additional 500 000 learners have not returned to school and are considered to have dropped out adding that the pandemic is part of the reason.

Some of the reasons really are that some of the factors the learners are navigating to hold their grip on school have been exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic, which often relates to socio-economic circumstances of households.

Mansfield adds that the data from the survey shows that some of the households in which there was food insecurity had a high likelihood that there were one or more learners who did not return to school compared to homes with food security, meaning that the impact of the pandemic extends to more than just health concerns.

She also says that part of the reasons why they have been making efforts to spur people into action to get the learners back to school is that the longer they take to return to school, the less likely it is that they will return. 

Some of the ways that she says have been useful in tracking and tracing pupils include schools using learners who have returned back to identify learners who have not returned to the classroom, making use of buddy systems and groups to motivate those who have returned to continue attending. 

Additionally making use of community volunteers, leaders, street committees and forums and ensuring that communities are engaged in actively looking for learners who they are not able to access telephonically.

Some of the long term effects of not encouraging learners to return to school may include their inability to improve their livelihoods which will thus contribute to the country's growing inequality gap according to Mansfield. 

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