Schools in South Africa face huge dropout problem

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Researchers from the Department of Basic Education have warned an enrollment deficit of 30,000 students in Grades R and Grade 1 due to the containment of Covid-19.

Professor Martin Gustafsson, senior researcher at the department, says up to 50,000 fewer students could be enrolled across the education system.

The department’s research also found that while a number of students have dropped out of the school system, the government has been largely successful in keeping students in schools despite the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns.

Pupils who have dropped out of school during the compulsory education phase until the age of 15 raise concerns. However, Gustafsson said there had been an increase in enrollment in grade 12, likely because schools were more accommodating to struggling students during the lockdown.

Gustafsson said about 20,000 learners dropped out of compulsory education until the age of 15. abandonment problem.

He noted that it is difficult to say how serious these dropouts really are.

“Anyway, if there are 20,000 students of compulsory age who have dropped out of the school system, that’s obviously something to be very concerned about. The situation is worse in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the North Cape. “

Schools in South Africa have been affected by several closures over the past 18 months. The department estimates that learners from disadvantaged communities lost a year of learning in 2020 due to a lack of contact time with teaching and a rotational learning system.

Under the current rotation system, secondary schools operate under one of three systems. Students must physically attend school every other day, every two weeks, or once a day in the morning or afternoon.

During downtime, students should complete assigned work to ensure they don’t fall behind schedule. Several schools have also integrated online and digital learning platforms for students.


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