‘The dropout rate has tripled’: Too many students are ‘falling through the cracks of the education system’

Schools are scheduled to open today at a time when school attendance is the lowest in two decades. Fewer learners have returned to school this year compared to pre-pandemic attendance figures, and the dropout rate has tripled.

“The longer it takes to get our learners back to class, the less likely they are to return,” says Merle Mansfield, Programme Director of the Zero Dropout Campaign.

According to new data published by researchers involved in the NIDS-CRAM survey, an additional 500 000 learners have dropped out of school since the start of the pandemic. The poorest households are worse affected, particularly in rural areas and those that have experienced economic challenges during the pandemic.

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