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Learner dropout rate shows why schools need to return to full attendance - DBE

22 July 2021 11:04 AM
Tags:
School closures
DBE
reopening schools
School Attendance
dropout rate
learner dropouts

Breakfast host Refilwe Moloto chats to the Department of Basic Education's Nompumelelo Mohohlwane about the school dropout rate.
  • School attendance in South Africa is at the lowest level it has been in 20 years according to a recent study
  • Up to 750,000 learners have dropped out of school during the Covid-19 pandemic according to the latest NIDS-CRAM findings
  • The Department of Basic Education (DBE) says the lastest research supports the DBE's call for a return o full-time attendance

© victority/123rf.com

The high school dropout seen in the past year could potentially affect South Africa's technical skills base which is needed to grow the economy.

That's according to Nompumelelo Mohohlwane, an education researcher at the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

The learner dropout rate in the country has tripled to about 750,000 during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest NIDS-CRAM survey which looks at the impact of the pandemic and the lockdown on SA households.

Mohohlwane says the DBE has been following the school dropout rate closely.

She says the latest findings show how school closures, phased reopening, and rotational learning have impacted school attendance.

"It's a number we're tracking and it's part of what has informed our call to go back to traditional timetabling with full attendance from term 3", Mohohlwane tells CapeTalk.

She argues that parental fears, lack of resources, and anxiety among children have contributed to low school attendance.

Mohohlwane says the DBE is hopeful that schools will be able to reopen as planned on Monday 26 July.

All primary school pupils and special needs pupils are expected to resume 100% daily school attendance from August 2.

We've seen the attendance rate changing over the last 18 months in line with lockdown restrictions as well as Covid-19 school-targeted restrictions.

Nompumelelo Mohohlwane, Deputy Director of Research Monitoring and Evaluation - Department of Basic Education

We are hoping that this is a temporary dropout and not a permanent dropout. That being said, we know from international studies that the longer you are away from school the more likely it is that it becomes a permanent dropout.

Nompumelelo Mohohlwane, Deputy Director of Research Monitoring and Evaluation - Department of Basic Education

If children are disengaged and ultimately dropping out of school, in the longer term it does mean we have a smaller technical base to draw from in terms of higher education, skilled jobs, and even unemployment.

Nompumelelo Mohohlwane, Deputy Director of Research Monitoring and Evaluation - Department of Basic Education

It's quite serious. I am sincerely hoping that we do indeed open schools on the 26th of July; schools stop being a target for closing amongst society so that we develop this shared understanding of what it costs us every time we close schools.

Nompumelelo Mohohlwane, Deputy Director of Research Monitoring and Evaluation - Department of Basic Education



22 July 2021 11:04 AM
Tags:
School closures
DBE
reopening schools
School Attendance
dropout rate
learner dropouts

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