As many as 750 000 children have dropped out of school during the pandemic

As many as half a million more children than expected have dropped out of school during the pandemic. School dropout may have tripled from 230 000 learners pre-pandemic to approximately 750 000 in May 2021.

This is according to findings released on Thursday in the fifth set of results from the National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM). The NIDS-CRAM survey covers the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown on South African households.

In response to the increasing number of learner dropout rates during the pandemic, the Zero Dropout Campaign said the government needs to implement an effective catch-up plan for learners.

“Before the pandemic, schooling was already characterised by too little learning, high levels of inequality, and regular disruption. Now, more than ever, we need a national, comprehensive response to school dropout that includes a national catch-up strategy attuned to the diverse needs of learners.

“We need to meet learners at their level and respond to their needs. Where possible, plans to recover lost learning, through accelerated catch-up programmes, should be tailored to learners’ needs, rather than their age or grade,” the organisation said

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