Before the pandemic, school dropout was a ‘hidden crisis’ barely featuring on the national agenda. The topic would arise as a peripheral issue in the public discourse during the announcement of the annual matric pass rate. But, dropout is a fringe topic no more! In July, researchers revealed that an additional 500 000 learners left school during the pandemic, taking dropout to a 20-year high. Children in quintile 1-3 schools are estimated to have lost almost a year of learning, dealing a significant setback to early grade reading. So severe is the impact, researchers estimate that it could take up to a decade to undo. Join us for the very first Zero Dropout Action Summit – an urgent, national response to reducing learner dropout. The summit is a launchpad for change, offering a coordinated response, plan of action and dropout prevention toolkits for all schools.