The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a rise in learners not attending school and who may permanently drop out. In November last year, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) revealed that around 200 000 learners did not return to school during a six-month period. Even before the pandemic, around 40% of learners who started school in Grade 1 would drop out before completing matric.
So, what makes a learner more likely to drop out? Is it household income? Learning environment? Geography? Disability? And how does a learner’s gender shape their journey through school? A new in-depth report published by the Zero Dropout Campaign explores these questions by examining how gender intersects with social inequalities – including race, geography and household income – to shape learners’ experiences of, and disengagement from, school.
‘School Dropout: Gender Matters’ pits powerful societal assumptions about gendered experiences of schooling against local and international research and qualitative data. “The report’s findings may surprise the average reader, compelling the basic education sector to rethink its approach to dropout prevention,” says Merle Mansfield, Programme Director of the Zero Dropout Campaign.
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