The heartbreak behind children leaving school

A young boy’s education is stopped when it has barely started, all because he’s from an impoverished family who hardly survived even before Covid-19 brought added burdens.

Luyanda Khofu, 8, has been forced to drop out of school owing to his parents’ dire financial situation. His mother, Elizabeth Khofu, 29, has been unemployed for the past five years and his fatherMongezi Silwane, 32, lost his job as a panel beater at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown last year.

Merle Mansfield, Programme Director of the Zero Dropout Campaign, which runs a national campaign to halve the rate of school dropouts by 2030, says poverty and inequality are still the biggest underlying causes of children leaving school. “Learners with poorer access to resources, support networks and opportunity are both more likely to experience disruptions to their education, and less likely to withstand them.”

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