A statement released last week by Unicef indicated that as many as 500 000 pupils have been lost in the schooling system over the past 16 months for a range of reasons, mainly the impact of Covid-19.
“Covid-19 school closures, together with the economic shocks of lockdown, have amplified the disruptions that normally lead to dropout,” says Rahima Essop, Head of Communications and Advocacy at the Zero Dropout Campaign. Essop stressed that there was a need to collect pupil level data that can be used to track individual pupil’s path-ways through school. “What the DBE has presented to you (enrolment figures) doesn’t tell you what happened to the children who didn’t enrol the following year. Did they move to a different province where they are enrolled in a different school? Did they move to an FET,” says Essop.