Concern over alarming school dropout rate in South Africa

Concern over alarming school dropout rate in South Africa

Education experts have shed some light on the worrying impact of Covid-19 on school dropout rates.

Photo of empty classroom / Pexels
Photo of empty classroom / Pexels

Basic Education says it's very concerned because as it stands, around 80% of learning was lost in 2020.

The department's Professor Martin Gustafsson says for the 2021 academic year, that figure - for a large portion of learners - stands at 50%.

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"Our estimates currently is that we lost about 10 000 learners of compulsory school-going age. Those are 10 000 young children we obviously need to worry about. We need to follow up."

He's been investigating the impact of Covid-19 in the country's schools.

"Young children who should be coming into school for the first time in Grade R or Grade 1 is lower than we would expect by about 25 000, which is a problem.

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"Children aged 7 to 14 are appearing in schools in 2021 at slightly lower levels than we would expect."

He says even with the best catch-up programmes; it will be almost impossible to fully recover from these learning losses.

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