Responsive Systems Are Needed To Lower Dropout Rate

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There are push and pull factors that contribute to the dropout rate that has reached its all-time high. Education activists have proposed options that can be explored to minimize the number of learners dropping out of the schooling system.


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The dropout rate in South Africa has reached its all-time high, with 500 000 South African learners recorded to have dropped out of school in a period of 16 months.

Education Activists have called for a different approach to tackle this issue that continues to rear its head.

Experts have also attributed this phenomenon to the Covid-19 pandemic that has changed the livelihoods of ordinary South Africans, including the younger generation.

The Drop Out Campaign reported that prior to the pandemic, about 40% of learners who started school in grade 1 do not complete matric.

Dropping out is not a single event, but rather comes after a series of events and a number of factors, influencing one's mindset that leads to the actual act of not attending school.

In a live interview in Newzroom Afrika, Head of Communications and Advocacy at the Zero Dropout Campaign,  Rahima Essop said:

We need to take a holistic view. Dropout is multi-dimensional and there's no single risk factor that can accurately predict that a learner is going to drop out in examining all of these different risk factors in our report.

Push factors that contribute to learners dropping out:

  • An environment that is not conducive for the learner to study
  • Lack of support from parents and/or guardian
  • Being expelled from school
  • Distance from home to the school
  • Lack of educational equipment
  • The fear of being harassed
  • Financial constraints

The organisation shared that these factors ought to be viewed from both a local and an international context.


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