Lack Of Food Increases the School Dropout Rate - Zero Dropout

The school dropout rate has been increasing as Covid-19 continues to plague over South Africa. Member of Zero Dropout says that hunger is also one of the main causes of learners dropping out. More discussions on how school should be open full-time are taking place.


Due to Covid-19 there has been an increase in hunger in South Africa and Merle Mansfield believe this increase in hunger is what what is causing the increase in the school dropout rate. 

In a National Income Dynamic study that was done they have found that 47% of pupils have missed a school meal over the last 7 days.

There is however a court order stating that the Department must rollout its nutritional programme even on the days that learners are not attended school.

Merle Mansfield, a member of the Zero Dropout Campaign, says that logistically that is not easy because, leaners travelling to school only to pick up a meal is unsustainable, especially for commuter schools and learners with low or no household incomes.

Mansfield also explains how the rotational timetable of most schools and the hunger children are facing is playing a role in the dropout rate.

Some of the pull out factors relate to their access to food, food security within their home, as well as their ability to function in school, their ability to stay on track in school, and we've seen that not only are learners more hungry because of covid-19 but, many of our leaners are not on track

The rotational school timetable has shown to decrease the attendance rate because, learners need the consistency to remain connected.

Mansfield says, the longer they are disconnected and away from school the less likely that they will return and the harder it is to reintegrate them. 

Covid-19 has caused drastic 50% - 75% in learning losses over the last year.

Mansfield believes that learners should start attending school full-time. She explains:

Studies show that children are less likely to contract the virus, fall seriously ill from the virus and are less likely to be spreaders of the virus 

She uses the explanation at reason for why it is logical for learners to start attending school full-time. 


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