The Pandemic Has Worsened School Dropout Rate: Zero Dropout Campaign

School Learner

The Covid-19 Pandemic has resulted in an increased school dropout rate which is much higher than initially expected. The Zero Dropout Campaign discusses some necessary preventative measures to mitigate the situation from worsening.


According to the fifth set of results from the National Income Dynamics Study Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey, which was released in July, up to 500 000 more children dropped out of school than predicted during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Additionally, school dropout rates may have tripled, from 230,000 students prior to the pandemic to around 750,000 in May 2021.

The NIDS-CRAM survey looks at the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown on South African communities. In 2020, Covid-19's impact resulted in a loss of 50 to 75% of classroom learning time.

Rahima Essop, the head of communications for the Zero Dropout Campaign, said the pandemic has worsened the crisis to an extent where schools have had to take immediate action to encourage learners to return to school.  

She adds this is likely to be a difficult task without a recommended school-led dropout prevention plan.

In addition to this, the organisation says that over a period of 4 years it has been working on a pilot which is looking at the best ways to mitigate the current dropout rate.

Over the next 4 years, we have been working with our NGO implementing partners in various parts of the country and this has been a learning initiative. We have been learning from them about what type of dropout prevention strategies actually work in various school settings so that we can develop sociable models as best practised to prevent dropouts

She adds that on Tuesday 28 September they launched their dropout tool prevention kits in various schools across the country.

These tool kits are meant to respond to four key areas, absenteeism tracking, data analysis and early warning systems, the need to strengthen psychosocial support and bring support systems around the learner.  

One can access the dropout tool kit which was launched earlier today the Zero Dropout Campaign's Twitter page is attached below.  

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