According to a telephonic survey by the National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM), an estimated 700 000 pupils left the education system during the four COVID-19 waves between 2020 and 2021. Many of these learners dropped out for financial reasons, others lost their parents to COVID-19 while a large number of girls had to leave the classroom after being impregnated.
Some of these children have opened up to Eyewitness News about the tough decisions they’ve had to make, without any help from adults or government. “Children who drop out of school are often thought of as lazy but it’s not true. It’s the fact that they are not getting the support that they need,” says Rahima Essop, Head of Communications and Advocacy at the Zero Dropout Campaign.
Many of the children interviewed in Soweto who’ve dropped out say that they would like to go back to school one day but for now the need is to face the harsh reality of having no other option but to work to keep feeding their siblings.
Read the full story on Eyewitness News.