Covid-19 lockdown pregnancies: How South Africa is fighting to keep girls in school

By May 2021, the number of school-aged children not attending classes in South Africa was approximately 650,000-750,000, a jump of 4-500,000 from pre-pandemic times, according to education researchers.

Students from the most vulnerable households are at highest risk of dropping out of school. If we don’t find ways to support these learners through school, we effectively trap them in cycles of inter-generational poverty and social exclusion, which often re-inscribe racial and gender inequalities.

Rahima Essop, Head of Communications and Advocacy at Zero Dropout Campaign, an organization that aims to halve the number of South Africa’s school dropouts by 2030, says the pandemic made children from poorer communities “more vulnerable to dropping out of school.”

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