Before the pandemic, around 40% of learners who started school in Grade 1 would drop out before completing matric. The Covid-19 pandemic has threatened to make the situation far worse. In November 2021, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) revealed that around 200 000 learners did not return to school during a six-month period. To make matters worse, the long-term impact of disruptions to schooling for today’s primary school children — including learning losses — may lead to dropout when they reach Grades 10, 11 and 12. Rahima Essop, Head of Communications and Advocacy at the Zero Dropout Campaign, speaks to Cape Talk host Aubrey Masango about this, offering some solutions.