Research shows that school dropout is rarely about a single event. Instead, it comes at the end of a long journey, in which the learner has been increasingly pushed or pulled away from school. Some learners stay in and do well at school, despite challenging circumstances. Researchers studying their resilience have found that these youth often succeed because they have “personal anchors – stable, positive emotional relationships with at least one parent or key person.” Community members, teachers, parents, or caregivers can all play this role in a learner’s life; it takes persistence, a consistent presence and an open heart to develop a relationship of trust. NGOs that we work with have also found that making a difference in the home environment, through learners’ primary caregivers, can be an effective starting point to keep learners in school.
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.
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 […]
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 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 […]