The Star: School dropout rate tripled amid pandemic

The National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM) Wave 5 report has revealed that the school drop-out eate in South Africa has tripled from 230 000 before the Covid-19 pandemic to about 750 000 in May 2021. The NIDS-CRAM is a study conducted by a national consortium of 30 social science researchers from local universities.

Civil organisation Zero Dropout Campaign’s head of communications and advocacy, Rahima Essop, said the longer a child was away from school, the higher the likelihood of them not returning, especially if their connection was strained to begin with. “Drop-outs come at the end of a process of disengagement, in which a learner loses their grip on schooling due to a number of factors that push and pull them away from the school space,” Essop said. The disruptions to schooling during the pandemic had exacerbated the push and pull factors in a child’s life and had a direct impact on the learner’s engagement with school and their ability to keep up academically, she added.