School dropout: At-risk pupils must be tracked and helped

The latest NIDS-CRAM study shows the school dropout rate has tripled from 230,000 pupils pre-pandemic to 750,000 in May this year.

An accelerated catch-up programme is now needed in schools to address this.

It’s the children living in poor areas like townships and rural communities who are the most vulnerable.

The Western Cape Education Department says it’s difficult to give exact dropout figures because pupils leave for different reasons.

But the pandemic has certainly made things worse.

National advocacy group, the Zero Dropout Campaign, says many pupils have missed key developmental stages, like early grade reading.

The campaign says there’s also a need to track and trace absent pupils speedily and get them reintegrated into schools.

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