What comes to mind when you think about youth activism? Perhaps it conjures iconic images of the 1976 Soweto Uprising or the removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes that stood undisturbed on the grounds of the University of Cape Town (UCT) until protests erupted in 2015. How can the energy and vibrancy of our youth be effectively channelled to decrease the rate of school dropout? We take a look at five lessons from youth led-strategies past and present.
After more than a decade of working with schoolboys, I’ve learnt that mutual trust lies at the heart of whether boys stay in, and are enabled to succeed at, school. Between 2008 and 2017, I served as CEO of Community Keepers, a non-profit organisation offering therapeutic counselling and psychosocial support in 29 schools across Cape Town. Boys could report to our offices themselves, or be referred by teachers or parents. It became apparent that the young boys walking into our therapy rooms simply did not trust adults because of their past experiences.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has released new statistics on underage pregnancies, which shows a rise in deliveries since 2017. In Parliament this week, DBE officials announced that one in three girls between 10 and 19 years leave school after becoming pregnant.
Covid-19 school closures coupled with the economic shocks of the pandemic have exacerbated a dropout crisis long in the making. Now, more than ever, we need a coordinated national dropout prevention plan and an accelerated learning strategy attuned to the diverse needs of learners, particularly for literacy and numeracy.
One of the most important changes we can make in our collective effort to reduce school dropout is to start keeping better records about our learners. By tracking individual learners’ absenteeism, academic performance and behaviour, we can better understand their struggles and pathways through school. This will allow us to identify learners at risk of […]
Despite our success in enrolling children in primary school, we struggle to keep them in school until matric. With so much attention on annual matric pass rates, this major failure of our education system is often hidden. And although we may not recognise it, school dropout affects us all. Dropout is a process of disengagement […]
South Africa simply does not have the right types of records (datasets) to measure and monitor school dropout properly. While there are several datasets tracking matric exam results, annual school surveys, and master school lists, this information is only at the ‘aggregate’ level, not at the level of individual learners. Learner-level information could help us […]
There are numerous inspiring stories of educators making profound contributions in their student’s lives, despite working in difficult circumstances. In the book, Great South African Teachers, the authors came up with seven profiles of inspirational teachers based on accounts from former learners. The authors explained that it’s often teachers who go beyond the call of duty in class, and after hours, who are the most inspirational.
The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us that a teacher plays a multi-layered role in a child’s life, beyond completing the curriculum. Teachers are key role-players in a child’s learning journey, which is why their full buy-in and cooperation are essential in the campaign against dropout. Although many teachers are overwhelmed with work, they are the […]
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) recently released concerning statistics about the country’s dropout crisis, worsened by the Covid-19 school closures. On 1 September, officials from DBE told Members of Parliament (MPs) that they are now tracking absenteeism rates at schools to get a better sense of how many learners are likely to drop out.
Dropout is rarely a single event; it’s a process of disengagement involving different push out and pull out factors in a young person’s home, school or community. We take a look at what our NPO implementing partners are doing to address disengagement and re-engage learners in the schools in which they operate. Caring adult support, […]
A school is more than a space for learning; it occupies a multi-faceted role in the life-world of a child. Schools are spaces where children can access key support services, enrichment programmes and meals. Accessing support mechanism outside of the school environment is not easy for disadvantaged communities, particularly in rural areas. But that’s not […]
We know that parents and caregivers are not always sure how best to support their child’s academic development. This uncertainty may stem from a lack of confidence or hands-on experience in dealing with teachers and school administrators. The reality is that parental involvement is important to ensure they get the support they need to finish […]
As the Zero Dropout Campaign, we know that tackling the socioeconomic drivers of dropout requires policy change and political commitment that can take a long time. But there are steps we can implement now to ensure learners get the support they need to complete their schooling. The first thing to remember is that dropout is […]
This is a case study of the use of Early Warning Systems (EWS) for the prevention of school dropout. The Zero Dropout Campaign has been providing strategic and M&E support to four organisations focused on reducing dropout. This report was compiled by the New Leaders Foundation.