School dropout is not your problem or my problem. It’s our collective responsibility to help learners stay in, and succeed at, school. This is the goal of Yethu Network of Schools
– a national school-led effort to reduce learner dropout.
You may be familiar with the term ‘school dropout’ and you may even agree that it’s a problem in your community. But the scale of the problem and the impact it’s having on our country is not clear to everyone. Here are three things you probably didn’t know:
Four out of ten learners in South Africa drop out of school before completing matric
School dropout is commonplace but we are not focused on fixing the problem.
Dropping out of school is not about laziness or poor choices
Young people who drop out of school are often very committed to their education but they are pushed or pulled away from their studies by factors beyond their control.
School dropout is a complex problem but there are simple interventions that can work
Having just one caring adult to support a learner through school dramatically improves their chances of finishing matric.
When educators are inspired to make a difference and to share their experiences with change agents in other schools, more and more schools will begin taking active responsibility for their learners’ success.
When learners are engaged and inspired to learn, there will be positive educational outcomes and professional benefits for educators involved in turning the situation around. Not only will outstanding educators be given a platform to share their experiences, they will be recognised for their achievements.
When learners are supported to stay in, and succeed at, school, they have a chance to study further, to earn, and to contribute to social and economic life. This outcome is good for the health of our entire nation.
No one is taking active responsibility for the fact that 40% of learners exit the schooling system before completing matric. We can turn this situation around for the benefit of our learners and the nation. It starts with every school taking active responsibility for their learners’ success.
Yethu is a support network of schools for learners. This network is made up of all the stakeholders in the schooling system, from national government all the way to the learners themselves – all working together to unlock the potential of South Africa’s children. Yethu Network of Schools is a programme of the Zero Dropout Campaign, a national campaign working towards halving the rate of school dropout by 2030.
The hub provides direction to the network and supports schools with resources and tools in order to achieve the common goal of reducing dropout. The hub is also responsible for activating change agents in schools who in turn inspire others to make a difference in their schools.
School leaders in each school are encouraged to nominate at least two people to act as Champion Teachers who will coordinate the formation of Yethu Clubs in their respective schools. These clubs are made up of members of the school community, like learners and even parents or caregivers. These clubs are like the engine rooms of Yethu – they are inspired and encouraged to find ways to improve their school’s culture and reduce dropout.
Champion Teachers are the foundation of the network and they are responsible for mobilising Yethu Clubs.
Quite simply, you! Everyone in the network has a vital role to play. The sharing of experiences and learnings allow everyone to grow stronger and more resilient Yethu Clubs – which ultimately leads to Yethu Schools achieving a reduction in dropout.