RETHINK school dropout: What does the research teach us?

Some learners have to travel long distances every day. This can contribute to their disengagement from school.

It is vital that we approach the issue of school dropout with openness and curiosity, paying attention not only to what the research says but to the lived experience of those in our education sector. 

There are many stereotypes and preconceptions surrounding school dropout, such as “children drop out of school because they are lazy” or “boys do better in school than girls”. 

These stereotypes often inform the ways in which we go about addressing the issue and have long lasting implications. For instance, you would be less likely to empathise with and assist a child that dropped out of school if you assumed they were simply lazy, than if you realised they’d left school to earn a living to support their family, or they’d dropped out because they were being bullied by their peers.

There is a myriad of factors that drive a child’s disengagement from school, resulting in eventual dropout after years of battling. Understanding these factors and approaching each case with an open mind will allow us to intervene effectively.  

So, what does the research teach us?

Each year, we produce an annual publication that collects and analyses the latest data and trends surrounding school dropout.

Context Counts

In 2022, we looked at some of the factors that push and pull learners away from school. Drawing on interviews, poetry and art-making, we showcase the everyday obstacles and victories of learners in their own words as well as the stories of the teachers, families and communities that surround them. In doing so, we make visible the many barriers that learners are up against on their journey through school.

Read ‘School Dropout: Context Counts’ to better understand the factors that push and pull learners from the classroom.

We also busted some myths along the way, encouraging readers to RETHINK some of their assumptions.

Gender Matters

In 2021, we looked at how gender intersects with social inequalities to shape disengagement and dropout. We found that while there is of course overlap in experience, there is also distinct difference and nuance between learner’s gendered experiences of school. 

Ideally, we need an intersectional approach to gender and schooling – one that understands how learners’ different identities and realities work together in shaping their journey through school, and their experiences of discrimination and privilege. You can read ‘School Dropout: Gender Matters’ here.

Our research dispelled some popular myths around gender and dropout. You can click and download the images below.

We want to hear from YOU:

These myths are just the tip of the iceberg. What are some stereotypes around school dropout that you think need to be busted?

Share your thoughts with us below and together let’s rethink school dropout, and our approach to solving this crisis.